A mother of three, Melissa Torrez, chased down her child’s abductor, ramming her car into the kidnapper’s, which led to the man’s arrest.
The man identified as David Jesus Hernandez, 31, fled the scene, and a manhunt followed, but police soon arrested the suspect, the Associated Press reports. Torrez’s 4-year-old daughter was kidnapped while playing in the yard at St. Anthony’s Plaza Apartments, in Albuquerque, N.M. Torrez was called to the yard by a group of teens who had witnessed the abduction.
As Torrez went to her car, a family member called 911 to report the kidnapping, AP reports. Torrez chased Hernandez for seven miles before crashing into his vehicle at an intersection. Hernandez had quickly abandoned the kidnapping plan, pushing the 4-year-old out of his car near the Torrez home. Police said the daughter was quickly found and was unharmed.
Following news of the chase making local headlines, Hernandez turned himself in to police at the Rio Rancho Police Department, KOAT-TV reports. Speaking briefly to the television station’s reporter outside of the police department, Hernandez professed his innocence.
The attempted kidnapping occurred on May 15 at approximately 6:30 p.m., according to police statements. Court documents obtained by KOAT-TV state Hernandez had tried to pull the 4-year-old girl into his car and shoved her down below the passenger seat. As Hernandez was being pursued by Torrez, the mother was talking to the 911 dispatcher throughout the chase, reporting the suspect’s location.
Speaking about the chase, Torrez said to KOAT-TV, “I don’t ever want to lose my kids.” Hernandez was charged with kidnapping but did not have a prior history of kidnapping, AP reports. A similar crime, involving the kidnapping and sexual abuse of a 6-year-old girl at the same apartment complex as Torrez’s, happened last week. The 6-year-old was found by a resident of the apartment complex. The suspect "was described as a male in a silver or gray vehicle," while Hernandez was driving a silver Buick. A possible connection between the two crimes is currently being investigated by police.