A Winnipeg woman is facing charges of abduction and attempted murder after a 14-month-old girl was allegedly seen being beaten in the street.

Police began investigating the incident early Tuesday morning, after a witness told police he saw a woman beating a baby's head against the pavement in a neighbourhood near Shaughnessy Park.

Eighteen-year-old Tyler Bilsborrow told police he was having a smoke outside his family's home, when he thought he heard someone beating up a cat at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

He looked around the corner and saw a woman sitting on the pavement.

As he approached to get a closer look, Bilsborrow realized it was a child who was being hurt.

"I saw a woman there, holding her baby around the neck and smashing it into the cement, the baby's face. And it had something tied around its neck," Bilsborrow told CTV Winnipeg.

The woman fled the scene when Bilsborrow ran to her location.

The girl was lying on the ground, covered in blood, wearing only a T-shirt and a diaper.

Vince Bear, the father of 14-month old victim Vanessa, told CTV Winnipeg "she didn't deserve it."

He said her face was beaten so badly, he thought she might not survive.

Remarkably, Vanessa is in stable condition and should not suffer any permanent damage, her mother said.  

Bilsborrow, who is a father himself, stayed with the baby and comforted her, as he waited for police to arrive. He is hopeful that the child survives the attack.

"I hope I saved its life. That's all I can do, is just hope that it heals properly and heals fine," Bilsborrow said.

Abduction allegations

Neighbours say police showed up at a nearby townhouse about an hour after Vanessa was discovered.

The baby's grandmother has said the girl was kidnapped the night of the attack.

Local residents told CTV's Jill Macyshon that the girl's mother returned home early Tuesday morning to discover that someone had taken her child.

"She apparently searched the house looking for her child, couldn't find her, and that's when she heard about what happened down the street," Macyshon told CTV News Channel by telephone from Winnipeg.

The mother is reportedly distraught over what happened to her child, Macyshon said.

Police said there was a party in the area that involved drinking, though spokesperson Const. Jason Michalyshen said investigators still do not know why the baby was attacked.

Police said the alleged attacker had no relationship with the victim.

John Klassen was visibly upset by what had happened to the baby in his neighbourhood.

"As a parent, you try and protect your children, you don't go out to hurt them," he told CTV Winnipeg. "This hits close to home."

Police say 19-year-old Nikita Solange Eaglestick has been charged with abduction, aggravated assault and attempted murder.

With a report from CTV Winnipeg's Kelly Dehn