Girl Calls 911, Saves Herself And Brother From Being Kidnapped In Carjacking

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SAN DIEGO (KFMB/CNN) – An 8-year-old girl and her 3-year-old brother were reunited with their father after a woman stole the car they were in from a California parking lot and tried to drive it to Mexico.

Malaiah Cole and her brother Jackson were in their family car with the A/C and engine running while their father, Rodney Cole, ran inside a store when suddenly 26-year-old Leslie Esparanza Saenz jumped in the car and drove away – with the kids still inside.

A witness honked his horn to get the father's attention, and he went outside to see his car leaving the parking lot. He ran into traffic after the car but says Saenz evaded him.

The father called 911, and police began combing the area, trying to track down the vehicle. Meanwhile, Malaiah and Jackson were headed to the U.S.- Mexico border.

“She said, ‘Are you thirsty?’ And I told Jackson to say no because she might poison us,” Malaiah said. Then, the 8-year-old, who has a cell phone of her own, bravely confronted the suspect.

“I said, ‘If you don’t take us back to our daddy, I’ll call the police,’ and I called 911. Then she threatened me and said, ‘If you don’t give me the phone, I’ll drive in circles and crash into this car,’” Malaiah said.

However, Malaiah managed to tell authorities that she and her brother had been kidnapped, and she could see freeway signs that said Mexico, KNSD reports. Officers contacted border patrol, who detained Saenz 30 minutes later as she was trying to take the children across the border.

Malaiah and Jackson were quickly reunited with their father. Police took Saenz into custody. They say they don’t know what her motive was in the theft and kidnapping.

Source: Raycom

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