(PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo.) — An arrest affidavit details the harrowing hours a Colorado girl spent with her alleged kidnapper before she was able to escape and call 911. It also reveals that the kidnapping suspect allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted his own step-daughter on the same day.
Nine-year-old Calysta Cordova was reported missing on Thursday and discovered alive at a Pueblo County, Colo., convenience store on Friday. The quick-thinking third grader managed to escape from alleged kidnapper Jose Garcia and call for help.
Cordova told an FBI child forensic interviewer that as she was walking the three blocks from her school to her home on Thursday, a “weird person” started following her in his truck. She said she started “walking faster and faster and the person starts driving faster.”
Panicked, Cordova began to run as her parents had taught her, but the man allegedly got out of the car, grabbed her by the shirt and backpack and threw her into the car.
She didn’t recognize the man and once she was in the truck, he “grabs a red strap from the back of his truck and ties [her] hands together and then grabs a red shirt and puts it around [her] mouth,” according to the affidavit, which excluded pronouns to protect the child’s identity.
The little girl told authorities that the man grabbed her by the throat, making it difficult to breathe, and then punched her until she said her eyes crossed and her vision became blurry.
The man allegedly threatened her, saying that he would find her if she ran away and “kill mommy.” She told investigators this made her “feel sad.”
After tying her up, Cordova said the man was “driving crazy” and made her “stay up all night” before they were involved in a car accident. It was after this fateful accident that a passerby gave the man and child a ride to a nearby Circle K convenience store.
There, she ran into the store and asked for a phone, saying she wanted to call her uncle. Instead, she called 911.
When asked how she found the strength to do what she did, Cordova said in an exclusive interview with Good Morning America that she “got my fight from Daddy.” The courageous third grader appeared on the show with her parents and said her father taught her “to stand up for myself.”
“She had two black eyes, bruises on her cheek,” witness Efrin Villapondo told ABC News Denver affilate KMGH. “She was in bad shape. The bruise on her face was enormous.”
Garcia told investigators that he had been drinking vodka that day and did not remember many of the details of what happened, according to the affidavit. He is being held in a Pueblo County detention center on a $250,000 bond for two counts of kidnapping and one of sexual assault.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eric Schulzke, Deseret News
Jeanne Moos, CNN Newswire