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Six-year-old rescued from suspected kidnapper 'scared' but well

By Ed Payne, CNN
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Bystander gives chase after girl grabbed
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Suspect makes first court appearance
  • Rescuer tells wife, "I'm going to stop him"
  • Neighbor Antonio Diaz Chacon notices a commotion and chases a van with the girl inside
  • Police charge Phillip Garcia with kidnapping, child abuse and tampering with evidence

Check out CNN affiliates KOAT-TV and KRQE-TV in New Mexico for local reports.

(CNN) -- A 6-year-old girl rescued from a suspected kidnapper in New Mexico is scared but doing well, according to her older sister.

"She sometimes cries. She gets scared. She's sorta afraid to go outside but she's doing all right," the victim's sister told CNN affiliate KOAT.

The man who is given credit for rescuing the girl -- Antonio Diaz Chacon, who gave chase in his own truck after witnessing the attempted abduction -- says he is "happy and content" that he was able to step in.

The incident occurred Monday night in southwest Albuquerque, when the girl went to a neighbor's house to pick up a package of tostadas.

Bystander saves girl from kidnapper
RELATED TOPICS
  • New Mexico
  • Kidnapping

Diaz said he noticed a commotion when a man grabbed the girl. Speaking with CNN as his wife, Martha, interpreted, he said in Spanish that he heard a neighbor yelling "Let her go, she's not yours!"

Diaz said he saw the man cover the girl's mouth and place her in a blue van, according to an Albuquerque Police report. Diaz told CNN that he was only 10 or 15 feet away from the van when the incident occurred.

"We heard a man going 'Hey, hey, let her go,' " Martha Diaz told a 911 dispatcher. "The man came running to us. He said, 'They stole our little girl.' "

"My husband went after him," she said.

Martha Diaz said her husband told her, "I don't care what I'm going to do. I'm just going to block the way. I'm going to stop him."

As Antonio Diaz followed the man, police received frantic 911 calls from his wife and from a 12-year-old sibling of the kidnapped girl.

"What's wrong?" the 911 operator asks in a recorded call.

"My little sister is missing," the sibling says. "She went to go to the neighbors. ... The neighbor is right here ... and when she was coming back, or on her way, she just like disappeared."

Diaz chased the van for several miles before it crashed into a light pole, allowing Diaz to catch up and rescue the girl, police said.

The suspect fled down the roadway and got stuck on a mesa before being apprehended, police said, adding that a search of the van found a package of tostadas like the ones the girl went to get.

Police said Phillip Garcia, 29, was charged with kidnapping, child abuse and tampering with evidence and was being held. He made his first court appearance in Albuquerque Wednesday. CNN affiliates said the tampering charge was dismissed.

Martha Diaz said her husband told her the little girl didn't seem to realize she had been rescued at first. "I think she realized later," she said, "Because when he went up to her, she was on the floor of the van crying. When he went up to her she said 'Where are we? Where are we?' and he said, 'I don't know where we are either but I'm going to get you out of here now.' "

The girl's father said he appreciates what Diaz did, that he feels lucky and "thanks God a lot," according to the victim's older sister.

But Diaz says he is not a hero. His wife told CNN, "He says everybody is calling him a hero but he feels he is just a normal person who did something for that little girl that anybody could or should have done."

CNN's Anna Rhett Miller contributed to this report.

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