There are horrible people out there in the world who search for victims. There are things you can do to protect yourself, and staying alert and aware of your surroundings is crucial.
But sometimes, even when you do everything right, the odds are stacked against you. That’s what an 11-year-old from Queens experienced — and if it hadn’t been for two observant neighbors, she might not be here today.
He ran out of his house with a bat and asked the girl if she knew the man. She said no and pleaded for help.
“He literally had her sideways and she’s fighting with him, he’s trying to put her in the car head first,” Salas said, tearing up. “She fought, she kicked, she screamed, she did everything and she used her phone.”
“She saved her own life, I didn’t. She did everything the right way I was just there to help her.”
Salas kept the man preoccupied and let him talk until police got there and handled the situation. The 40-year-old man turned out to be Relyn Estrada, a registered sex offender with 13 prior arrests and a sexual assault charge.
A video of him being led to a police car is chilling: He looks directly at the camera and makes a face, but says nothing.
The 11-year-old girl was reportedly on her way to a program at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday when Estrada started tracking her, following along behind her as she walked. He tried to get her attention, and she ignored him.
But Estrada was bigger and faster, and eventually caught up to her. “She got tired and made it to this door, but the door wasn’t open, so that’s when he trapped her between the gates and he grabbed her,” Salas said.
“No way in the world I was gonna let them leave,” he said. “God knows what he would have done — I mean, think about it… what if I didn’t help her?”
Fortunately, Salas heard what was happening and was able to intervene. Another neighbor, Edwin Gonzalez, heard the commotion too and went out to help Salas.
“We heard something, I heard Alex. And I came outside just like him,” Gonzalez said, according to NY1. “And we basically kept his attention on us.”
The would-be kidnapper is now in custody and the little girl is safe. It may be a while before she ventures out on her own again, but thanks to Salas and Gonzalez, she still has that opportunity.
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