When you think of a hero, what do you picture? Maybe you think of a comic book superhero, a firefighter or a local law enforcement officer.
What about a mom driving her daughter to school?
On March 29, 2018, a 17-year-old Houston high school student was walking to school just like any normal Thursday … until a green pickup truck pulled up beside her.
A man jumped out and began pulling her into the truck. “I thought he was going to abduct me, then rape and murder me,” the student said.
This is when our unexpected hero enters the story! Cecilia was driving her own daughter to school when she saw the student struggling to get away.
“She turned around and looked at us,” Cecilia’s daughter remembered. That’s when Cecilia and her daughter called out to the student to get into their truck.
Cecilia then began to chase after the green truck. She didn’t want to give the man another chance to kidnap a different teen.
Cecilia continued to follow the man for about ten minutes, down many streets and past stop signs. As she was driving, her daughter called local law enforcement and recorded the chase on her phone.
At one point she lost sight of him, but “felt led” to turn down a particular street. He was there!
The chase ended when the man, Daniel Zapata, drove his truck into a ditch. Cecilia blocked him in so that he wouldn’t be able to get away.
He tried to get away by running his truck into hers, but when he saw that he couldn’t run away he tried to convince her to let him leave.
When law enforcement arrived on the scene, they arrested Zapata. He was later charged with attempted kidnapping, aggravated assault and a DUI. This was not his first offense; it was actually his third.
The 17-year-old student is beyond thankful for Cecilia and her daughter. “They were my angels at that moment. There was nobody else.”
Cecilia’s older daughter, Stephanie, knows her mom is a hero. She said, “Sometimes people don’t want to get involved. They might have kept on going, and wondered what might have happened if they had stopped. In life, you’re going to take chances, so why not do it for a life. A life doesn’t have a price.”
As for Cecilia, she knows know that it wasn’t a coincidence that she was there at the perfect time. “God had a plan that day,” she humbly said.
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