Driver cuts off truck, abducted 8-year-old Calif. girl flees - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Driver cuts off truck, abducted 8-year-old Calif. girl flees

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This is a Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 booking photo of abduction suspect Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, of Fresno, Calif. This is a Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 booking photo of abduction suspect Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, of Fresno, Calif.

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — An 8-year-old girl who was abducted by a stranger while playing outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver recognized the suspect's vehicle and cut it off, police said.

The child was found in Fresno about 11 hours after she disappeared around 8:30 p.m. Monday, triggering a statewide Amber Alert. Police arrested Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, who they said was a member of the Bulldogs street gang.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the driver recognized the truck he was following from media reports that showed surveillance video of the kidnapper's vehicle.

When the driver saw a girl's head in the window, he cut the truck off and forced it to stop, Dyer said. That's when the suspect pushed her out of the car, and she ran to safety, he said.

She was taken to a hospital in good condition, but Dyer later confirmed she had been sexually assaulted. The police chief described her as "frightened, traumatized."

Authorities released the victim's name when issuing the Amber Alert, but The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual assault without their consent.

"I was at the same time happy and grateful that my daughter had been brought home," the girl's mother told a news conference. "During the night, the hours seemed very long."

The truck was eventually spotted by authorities, who had received a tip about its whereabouts, and Gonzalez was arrested in the parking lot of a Fresno apartment complex. Dyer said Gonzalez was on probation for a felony domestic violence conviction and had been arrested numerous times, including on suspicion of possessing a sawed-off shotgun.

Police had no motive for the kidnapping.

Authorities said the victim was playing with six other girls when a stranger approached them and managed to lure her into his pickup. Two adults who saw what was happening shouted for the girls to run away. But the man grabbed the victim and drove away as witnesses chased the vehicle, police said.

Fresno police said Gonzalez fits the description of a man who exposed himself to two girls earlier in the day.

More than 130 officers were called in to help with the search and went door-to-door over a three-mile area.

"I've got to tell you, it was the highlight of my career seeing (the victim) and her mom unite in that hospital room," Dyer said. "Because we beat the odds today because in many cases, we don't find the child alive."

 

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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