MARTINEZ -- In an exclusive jailhouse interview Monday, David Douglas admitted to kidnapping a 7-year-old Antioch girl, calling the abduction a "cry for help" after his life swirled out of control.
The 43-year-old man, who described himself as homeless and unemployed, insisted he did not sexually assault the girl, as police have said they suspect. Instead, Douglas said, he spent the four hours after the abduction trying to calm her, even buying her food from McDonald's.
"It was a cry for help to get out of a situation," Douglas said numerous times during the 30-minute interview at County Jail in Martinez, although he struggled to explain what the "situation" is.
"Do I look like a child molester?" Douglas, who sported close-cropped hair and wore a yellow jail jumpsuit, asked a reporter repeatedly. "I'm not."
Comments by Douglas, as well as court documents, also allude to mental illness.
Antioch detectives were still building a case to present to the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office on Monday, and acting Capt. Robin Kelley said she could not comment on details as the investigation continued.
Douglas was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and is being held on $4 million bail. He has no previous criminal history in Contra Costa County.
Douglas said that about 6:45 p.m. Friday, he followed the girl and her mother from the Antioch Walmart to their Hummingbird Drive home, then abducted her. It was the day after his 43rd birthday.
Asked why he picked that girl, he said it was a "setup," and that it was "arranged by the ..." He paused for more than a minute, saying he was searching for the right word, and never finished the sentence.
He declined to comment on police reports connecting him to an earlier abduction attempt at the same Walmart.
Douglas said he did not have a gun, as described by police, only a "stick."
"When I picked up (the girl, whom this newspaper is not naming because of the possibility she was abused) we were both scared. I said to her, 'I'm frightened too.' So I thought, why not drive around a little and see if she'll stop shaking and I'll tell her why I'm doing this," he said.
The pair went to a McDonald's drive-thru, where he bought her some Chicken McNuggets -- which she didn't eat, he said. He began telling her about his life, and about his 7-year-old son, who like the girl has Filipino ancestry.
"Other than the abduction, once we calmed down, we got to know each other pretty quickly. I was able to calm her down pretty fast," he said.
"I tried to think of something to tell her, so I said I'm an angel sent by God to get her," and they had to wait to hear from God what to do next, Douglas said.
Douglas said he eventually drove to the Antioch Marina, where he had been parking his gold Toyota Camry the past few months and sleeping.
He said he cleared out the back seat; the girl lay down and he put a blanket over her, and she laid her head on a pillow, he said. "She fell asleep pretty quickly," he said. He said he smoked a couple of cigarettes -- "How can I sleep after something like that?" -- and then joined her in the back seat.
"I was leaning over and asking if she was cold and if she needed to use the restroom," he said. "That's when the cops rolled up on me."
The marina is just four blocks from the Antioch police station.
"That's the whole thing. Why would I do something so obvious? ... It's something I did as a cry out" to my family, he said.
"There's a situation I'm in right now that I can't get out of," he said, saying it started when his wife left him.
On Nov. 20, Douglas' stepfather, Richard Shankey, of Antioch, filed a domestic violence restraining order against Douglas, asking a judge to keep him 100 yards away from his family and to kick him out of their Antioch house. Two days earlier Douglas had been screaming at Shankey and his wife; police responded to that incident, Shankey noted in the court document. Shankey wrote that the screaming had extended over a three-month period before Nov. 20, focusing on Douglas' anger about his job search failures and his family's failure to get him an appointment with a college psychology department.
At a Dec. 12 hearing in Pittsburg, Douglas and his stepfather appeared before Judge Brian Haynes, who denied the domestic violence restraining order, according to court records. The record does not say why.
A Facebook entry for Douglas identifies current jobs; however, in a Sept. 30, 2012, post, Douglas said he had been looking for work for almost two years, and that it was "tough."
He also posted photos that show him in a Marines uniform, and he says he trained for the Persian Gulf War.
In his jailhouse interview, Douglas asked numerous times for a reporter to bring in psychologists, behavioralists and cryptologists to help him.
When asked, a reporter told Douglas he had children of his own. The accused kidnapper's eyes welled up with tears -- his first show of emotion during the interview.
"It doesn't make sense now, but it will in more time," he said. "Crazy."
Staff writers Judith Prieve and Jennifer Modenessi contributed to this report. Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.