An observant elementary school employee in Antioch, California, is credited with stopping the alleged kidnapping of an 11-year-old while on her way to work.
On Friday, a Sutter Elementary School employee was on her way to work when she noticed a student, an 11-year-old girl, with a man in the front seat of a car, according to the Antioch Police Department.
Police said the man, later identified as 51-year-old Santiago Salazar, had followed the girl as she was walking to school and lured her over to his car.
The girl walked over to the car and Salazar opened the passenger door from inside, police said. Salazar then allegedly grabbed the girl by the wrist and pulled her inside, said police.
The elementary school employee was familiar with the girl, police said, and when she saw the two in the car, she knew that the man wasn’t related to her. The employee then used her car to block the man in and called the police.
Responding officers determined that Salazar “was not known to the victim,” police said, and Salazar was arrested on a charge of kidnapping.
The girl was not injured, police told ABC News.
While the Antioch Police Department would only identify the woman who reported the kidnapping as “an employee of Sutter Elementary School,” ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco identified her as Sutter Elementary School teacher’s aide Sandra Ferguson.
Ferguson told KGO-TV the 11-year-old had looked scared and she sensed something was wrong.
“I said, ‘Sweetheart, is that your dad?’ She said, ‘No he’s a friend.’ I said, ‘No, he’s not your friend!'” Ferguson told KGO-TV. “I put my car in front of him and blocked him in. I told her, ‘You get out of that truck right now!'”
School principal Debra Harrington told KGO-TV that Ferguson was “a guardian angel” by “preventing something terrible from happening.”