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article image9-year-old kidnap victim calls 911, suspect apprehended

By Leigh Goessl     Jan 22, 2012 in Crime
Pueblo - A man suspected in connection with the kidnapping of a 9-year-old girl has been apprehended and is expected to be charged.
The alleged kidnapping occurred in Pueblo, Colo. with police apprehending the suspect the next day.
Jose Garcia was detained in connection with the disappearance of the 9-year-old girl. The Pueblo girl was walking home from Columbian Elementary School Thurs. afternoon and, when she didn't come home from school, her mother called police at 3:30 p.m.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation issued an Amber Alert 12 hours later.
The 9-year-old girl showed amazing courage on Friday as she called police and then stood up to her alleged kidnapper. Having been beaten and bruised, witnesses said the girl told the man “No, I ain’t going anywhere with you. I’m waiting for my momma," reported the Colorado Springs Gazette.
According to several media reports, the girl walked into a Colorado Springs Circle K convenience store approximately 9 a.m. Friday and called 911. Witnesses present in the store told the media the 9-year-old was visibly shaken and had several noticeable injuries. Observers said she was defiant when she refused to go with her captor.
"She had two black eyes, a bruised lip, and a bruise on her cheek," witness Daniel Espinoza told ABC Denver Channel 7. "She was scared. She was in shock."
Another witness told Channel 7, "She was in bad shape. The bruise on her face was enormous," said Efrin Villapando. "She just looked a bit disoriented and of course, she told the teller that she was lost."
According to Colorado Springs police spokeswoman Barbara Miller, the man and the girl were traveling in a truck when it broke down in Colorado Springs early Friday morning. A bystander picked the two up and brought them to the Circle K convenience store, which was when the girl was able to escape her captor.
The girl quickly went into the store and asked to use a phone to call her uncle, but instead called emergency services.
The man fled after the girl refused to accompany him. Police caught him four hours later near a bus depot in Colorado Springs after being recognized as a person wanted for questioning by an employee at the bus terminal.
Garcia is currently being held at the Pueblo County jail on $250,000 bond. Several media reports indicate he has a detailed criminal history including a variety of crimes.
A witness to Garcia's arrest told the Denver Post, "He had to have been seriously wanted," Tia Martinez said. "I did not see him resist or try to get away. He looked confused and surprised both. It was almost like he was in disbelief it was happening."
The Colorado Gazette reported, in an updated article, the man is likely to be charged in a separate Thursday incident involving a different Pueblo girl after the paperwork is finished tomorrow. Pueblo police Sgt. Ken Espinoza said Garcia took his ex-girlfriend’s daughter out of school Thursday and returned her later in the day. The ex-girlfriend appears to be a neighbor of the 9-year-old victim.
"We have a very, very brave, courageous young lady who did things to save her life, and I'm very, very proud of her," said Interim Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey. Colorado Springs Police have relinquished the case to the Pueblo Police Dept. since the crime occurred in that town and formal charges will be made in Pueblo.
The girl was taken to a local hospital, treated and released after being reunited with her family.
(The girl's name, while previously published due to the Amber Alert, is no longer being included in media reports because she is a minor who is the victim of a crime).
More about Colorado, Kidnapping, kidnapping of colorado girl, Charged, Jose Garcia
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