Albuquerque, New Mexico police say the kidnapping of a 6-year-old girl was foiled by an alert neighbor.
The neighbor, Antonio Diaz Chacon, saw a man snatch a little girl and shove her into a van as she walked home from a neighbor’s house just before 5 PM on Monday. According to police, Chacon jumped into his car and chased the kidnapper until the fleeing van crashed into a light pole. Chacon rescued the girl from the van. The suspect (identified by police as Phillip Garcia) ran away, only to be caught by police later when he returned to the van.
The girl’s big sister had called 911, saying “She went to go to the neighbor’s and on her way back we don’t know what happened to her. … When she was coming back or on her way, she just like disappeared.” She said that her mother had gone out to look for her sister.
Police officers found packing tape and tie-down strap hidden under a rock just 25 feet from where the kidnapper’s van was crashed. Inside the van they found a glove, a Leatherman tool, a black satchel, orange strapping similar to the strap found hidden under the rock, and tostadas (which the little girl had gone to her neighbor’s house to pick up), police said.
Albuquerque police Sgt. Tricia Hoffman said “It appeared his intentions were not good.” Police said the girl had been grabbed with such force that bruises were already visible on her chest and back on Monday evening. The girl told police that she bit the man’s hand when he put it over her mouth, and that the man shoved her on the floorboard to keep her head under the window view. She was concerned about not being able to bring the tostadas home.
Garcia, who is from Albuquerque, was charged with kidnapping, child abuse and tampering with evidence. Hoffman said there have not been any other recent child abductions or attempted abductions in the city, and she is not sure if Garcia has a criminal record.