A New Mexico man is being hailed as a hero after he thwarted the attempted kidnapping of a 6-year-old girl that police said may have saved her life, according to local media reports.
Antonio Diaz Chacon, a father of two, said he chased down the kidnapper in his truck on Monday after he saw a man grab the child off an Albuquerque street and push her into his waiting van. Chacon, who witnessed the event while doing laundry, told The Associated Press that he instantly knew something suspicious was occurring.
"The way he grabbed her and threw her into the van, I knew it wasn't right," he said.
While his wife called 911, Chacon pursued the suspect, Phillip Garcia, in a high-speed chase until Garcia crashed into a telephone poll and ran away on foot. Chacon then went to straight to the little girl and told her he would take her home.
Garcia later returned to his wrecked van and was arrested. Police found packing tape and a tie-down strap hidden under a nearby rock and found similar devices in the van, indicating the kidnapping could have taken a turn for the worse if not for Chacon.
"This little girl was very lucky," said Sgt. Tricia Hoffman. "We can only guess what would have happened to this child."
Garcia was charged with kidnapping, child abuse and tampering with evidence. He was serving probation for a battery conviction he incurred last year.