Witness describes encounter with suspect

August 29, 2018

EMERSON — Zach Parr left his home Sunday morning about six miles outside of Emerson to get a few groceries.

But when he turned onto Highway 35 off Perry Avenue, he encountered something he had never seen before — and hopes to never see again.

“There was a white SUV in the middle of the highway and as I came up on it, a man and a young girl came out of the vehicle,” Parr said. “As I approached the vehicle, I knew something wasn’t right. I was going to go around it, but the guy came right in the middle of the lane.”

The man in question turned out to be 40-year-old Jose Salud Ibarra, who had allegedly earlier abducted his family from their home.

“I’ll never forget,” Parr said. “He came right up to my window with his face painted red and a fluorescent-green shirt on. It just didn’t look right.”

Parr said Ibarra ran up to his vehicle with a young girl behind him, waving his arms and asking him to stop.

Parr swerved to miss the man and the young girl with him and proceeded down the highway.

“With everything going on in the world and country today, I didn’t stop,” he said. “I just knew something was not right.”

And Parr had some education behind his decision.

His father, Matt, had retired recently after many years with the Nebraska State Patrol.

“I knew when it looked like trouble that I had to pay attention to details,” Zach Parr said. “Obviously I avoided hitting the guy and the girl, but I also got a good look at the vehicle and exactly where I was.”

He immediately phoned 911 and shared his information with law enforcement representatives.

But as he traveled farther down the road, he realized he had forgotten to lock his house, so he decided to turn around.

Ibarra’s vehicle had turned around by the time he went past it, but followed him to the corner of Highway 35 and Perry Avenue, which is where he needed to turn on to get back to his house.

“The SUV stopped and the guy and the girl got out again as I went by them,” Parr said. “They started running behind me up the hill toward my house.”

When Parr returned to his house, he called 911 again.

“The dispatcher told me to stay in my house and lock the doors,” he said. “The guy never came all the way up there.”

“All the way up there” was about a half-mile south on Perry Avenue from the highway.

“I can’t say I was ever scared,” Parr said, “but I was certainly aware. I paid attention to what was going on to get the best description to law enforcement to catch this guy.”

It’s possible that Ibarra and what was later determined as a 12-year-old daughter he had abducted went to another farmhouse right next to the highway and right by the corner of the highway and Perry Avenue.

Later Sunday evening, Ibarra was apprehended by the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office after reportedly stealing an ATV. Officials said Ibarra was in possession of a hand gun, a rifle and several knives.

News reports indicated that Ibarra and his 12-year-old daughter fled the scene on the highway after Parr encountered them.

According to the authorities, they escaped into a cornfield and eluded law enforcement.

Later, the 12-year-old escaped Ibarra and he was eventually apprehended after the ATV accident.

The Emerson Rescue Department transported Ibarro to St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City and will be transported to the Dakota County jail when released.

Update hourly