(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — A quick-thinking, 9-year-old girl managed to escape from her alleged kidnapper Friday, and Colorado police nabbed the suspected abductor after a manhunt.
Calysta Cordova was reported missing Thursday afternoon by her mother when she didn’t come home from school. Authorities believed she was abducted on her walk home and issued an Amber Alert.
Calysta was found safe Friday at the Circle K convenience store in Colorado Springs, according to ABC News’ Denver affiliate KMGH. Colorado Springs police spokeswoman Barbara Miller told KMGH that authorities believe Calysta was in a car with 29-year-old suspect Jose Garcia when the car broke down early Friday morning.
A passerby picked them up and drove them to the Circle K convenience store, police said. There, Calysta ran into the store and asked for a phone, saying she wanted to call her uncle. Instead, she called 911.
“She had two black eyes, bruises on her cheek,” witness Efrin Villapondo told KMGH. “She was in bad shape. The bruise on her face was enormous.”
When Garcia entered the store, Calysta defiantly refused to go anywhere with him, yelling, “I’m not going anywhere with you. I’m waiting for my mom,” according to police
Before police could arrive, Garcia took off on foot. Calysta was transported to Memorial Hospital to be treated for her injuries.
“I don’t know if you say a young child like that is OK during an experience like this but they are working with her right now,” Miller said.
Garcia was found at a bus stop in downtown Colorado Springs, about 7.5 miles south of the convenience store where they had been dropped off.
KMGH was on-scene when Calysta’s mother Stephanie Cordova discovered her daughter had been found safe. As the family shrieked and cried with joy, Cordova took a moment to thank all the family’s supporters.
“Thank God. Thank you for everybody who watched, who kept an eye out for my daughter and brought her home,” Cordova said, crying. “Thank you for your kindness, for putting yourselves in our shoes and bringing my daughter home.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News
David Williams, CNN
Miranda Green, CNN
Seth Fiegerman, CNN