With all of the horrifying news this summer, from the senseless murder of Caylee Anthony to the unfathomable Leiby Kletzky abduction and murder, we’re all hugging our kids that much tighter – and we’re beginning to lose our faith in humanity during those lie-awake-at-night moments. But this chilling story about a man who saves his six-year-old neighbor from her deranged kidnapper makes me believe once again that there are good people out there (or, in this case, true heroes).
Albuquerque, New Mexico dad Antonio Diaz Chacon was doing laundry at a relative’s home down the street from his own house when he saw a girl being thrown into a van. Another neighbor yelled out, “Let the child go!” but it was too late. Instinctively, Diaz Chacon hopped into his pickup truck and chased the van for 15 minutes through a series of neighborhoods until the van crashed into a pole. The driver fled on foot while Diaz Chacon, 24, ran to the little girl and took her home, reports Newser.
“I knew I had to catch him. I had to get the girl back from him and take her home, back where she belongs,” he told Associated Press. He said he had no fear until he saw the driver emerge for the van. “When he got down I was thinking, what if he has a gun?” Diaz Chacon says he thought of his own two girls (a seven-year-old and five-month-old) and how he would want someone to do the same for him. While all this action was happening, the girl’s 12-year-old sister frantically called 911 to report her little sister missing (Diaz Chacon’s wife did the same).
The abductor, Phillip Garcia, 29, eventually returned to his wrecked van and drove away, but was later captured by police.
Police reportedly found packing tape and a tie-down strap 25 feet from the van. And inside the van they discovered a glove, Leatherman tool, black satchel and an orange strapping similar to the strap found hidden under the rock. As police Sgt. Tricia Hoffman said, “This little girl was very lucky. We can only guess what would have happened to this child.”