What was supposed to be a happy time of the year almost had a tragic ending for one Arizona family. On Christmas afternoon, 5 year old Natalie Rose Flores was playing with her two sisters (ages 7 & 9) outside their home at the Saddleback Mountain Apartments. According to the girls, that's when a man approached them with a camera taking pictures. After getting close to the girls, he reportedly pulled the 7 year olds pants down to take a picture. When she fought back, he then snatched 5 year old Natalie and pulled her into his truck.
At this point, the girls did the proper thing (though they missed an earlier opportunity to escape, but more on that in future posts) and ran for help. One of the girls knocked on the door of a neighbor, screaming, "You gotta help me, somebody has taken my sister!" Meanwhile, the man was speeding off with Natalie inside. In his haste, he hit a parked car. A witness who saw the crash got his license plate number and described the man with a frightened child inside. Of course, at the time the witness had no idea what had just happened.
Police responded and put out an Amber Alert a short time later. Police and everyone in Arizona who had access to the alert were told to be on the lookout for a small child with red shoulder legnth hair and freckles. (By the way, you can sign up to receive wireless Amber Alerts in your area at https://www.wirelessamberalerts.org/index.jsp) Later that evening after dark, an alert police officer spotted the brown ford Ranger the suspect was reported to have been driving. He tried to make a stop, and a chase ensued. The suspect then crashed and tried to flee on foot. After assaulting an officer, he was eventually subdued.
Now for the happy news: Natalie was found inside the truck, alive and as well as could be expected given the circumstances. It is a rare event when such things end so well. When someone alerted me to the situation as it was unfolding, the first thing I asked was how old the child was. The second thing I said is that she's probably dead already. I'm thrilled to be proven wrong.
Perhaps the ghosts of Christmas past came togeather to foil the plan of anyone so callous as to kidnap a child on Christmas. Perhaps it's just a lucky chain of events, or the kidnappers own bungling saved the day. Whatever the case, we can all be thankful it came to the happiest conclusion possible. I only wish all such cases ended so well.
You can help protect your child by learning about abductions from our website.