Here's an unsettling story that makes me play the What Would I Have Done? game in my own head: on Wednesday evening, a 4-year-old girl was playing in front of her home in Albuquerque's North Valley neighborhood when a stranger picked her up and drove off. A group of teenagers witnessed the kidnapping and raced to tell the little girl's mother, Melissa Torrez, at which point the family called 911. Torrez didn't wait for the authorities to respond, however. She instantly ran for her car and began chasing the man who took her child.
I certainly hope I'm never called upon to find out what I'd do in that sort of awful situation, but I can't help but wonder. Would I have had enough adrenaline coursing through me to take vigilante action? Would the mama bear instinct have completely taken over? Or would I have been flatlined with terror, unable to decide what to do next?
As for what Melissa Torrez did, she followed the man's vehicle for seven miles, before losing control of her car and smashing into his silver Buick near an intersection. The suspect then fled on foot, triggering a massive manhunt that involved more than two dozen officers going door-to-door in the area to search for him.
What Torrez didn't realize is that the suspected abductor had pushed her daughter out of the car right before the chase began, and the little girl was found wandering uninjured near her home. In hindsight, Torrez's decision to follow the man at what must have been high speeds may have been a questionable one -- but who could say how this story might have ended if she hadn't done so? The man likely wouldn't have ditched the child, and who knows what could have happened after that.
In fact, it turns out that the cops are investigating whether there's a connection between this incident and the abduction and sexual assault of a 6-year-old from the same apartment complex the previous week. It certainly seems likely, since the suspect in that case was described as a male in a silver or gray vehicle.
A 31-year-old man named David Hernandez has now been arrested and charged with kidnapping -- and I'm thinking it's all thanks to Melissa Torrez. It took a lot of guts for her to chase this guy down, and it definitely sounds like she stopped a horrible crime from progressing.
What do you think about this lady's actions? Do you think you would have done the same?
Image courtesy of the Albuquerque Police Department