Click to viewAn eight-year-old girl was rescued from a kidnapper who abducted her in front of her home on Monday—thanks in no small part to an unemployed construction worker who recognized the suspect's truck and ran it down.
Victor Perez, a construction carpenter whose most recent source of income was cutting wine grapes for minimum wage, first heard about the abduction on Monday night after an amber alert was issued detailing the crime.
The third grader had been playing with a friend in her driveway—down the street from where Perez lives—when she was approached by a man who said he would buy her gifts. After neighbors told her to run, the man—later identified as 24-year-old Gregorio Gonzalez—grabbed her and put her inside his pickup truck. The girl's mother and a neighbor gave chase, but lost the vehicle.
When Perez woke up early the next morning, he checked to see if there were any updates to the case. While he and his cousin Flor Urias watched the news on TV, they noticed a truck matching the amber alert description pulling a U-turn outside their house. Perez ran outside to his own truck and pulled out (according to The Los Angeles Times, he backs it in to his driveway to make sure he can get out fast if necessary).
After catching up with the truck, Perez motioned to the driver as if he were going to ask for directions. Gonzalez claimed something was wrong with his truck, and drove off. Perez caught up with him again and forced him off the road, at which point Perez saw the head of the victim just over the dashboard and realized he had the right vehicle.
Gonzalez drove off again, and Perez gave chase, attempting to force him to pull over. Eventually, he drove his truck in front of Gonzalez's and prepared to rush the driver's side door. Instead, Gonzalez forced the girl out of the cab and drove off again. The girl was shaken and scared, and later told police that Gonzalez had sexually assaulted her and threatened her. But she was alive, which is rare in cases like this, where 90 percent of victims are killed within 24 hours. Gonzalez was picked up shortly afterward.
Perez says he doesn't know the little girl's family, but he helped anyway because he'd want people to help him in the same situation. You can watch him tell the story in the video above. It's unclear why Gonzalez returned to the scene of the crime. "We are very fortunate," Police Chief Jerry Dyer told the Fresno Bee.