A woman who was on her way from dropping off her own daughter at a nearby school in Santa Ana, California, early last Wednesday morning has become one little girl's hero. After spotting a young girl who appeared distressed, being dragged down the street in a one-armed bear hug by a disheveled woman, the quick-thinking good Samaritan, called out to the girl to ask if she needed help. The girl started crying and fending off the woman's arm, and the woman said that was the signal she needed to step in.
The experience was harrowing for diminutive Amy Martinez, a 12-year-old who looks much younger than her age.
I was thinking that she might be crazy and what if she takes me away and I won't see my mom or my dad again.
According to CBS Los Angeles, the middle-schooler described the suspect as, "dirty with no shoes." The woman approached Martinez and claimed she was her mother before wrapping an arm around the girl and trying to take off with her. Martinez says she struggled to get away and called out for help, "but she just kept pulling me back." The good samaritan (who prefers to remain anonymous) decided within a few seconds of confirming that the child needed help to lie to the suspect and tell her that Martinez was her daughter and command her to let the girl go. She then drove Martinez to the school and called the police.
What went through her mind when a second woman pretended to be her mother? Martinez told KTLA News:
I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to live.'
Police arrested 34-year-old Claudia Hernandez Diaz, who was described as "homeless," and took her into custody on kidnapping charges that same day. Martinez's aunt spoke to CBS Los Angeles about the woman who rescued her niece saying, "She's like our angel..."
H/T: Indy100, KTLA, CBS Los Angeles