About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Good Samaritan foils kidnapping attempt of 12-year-old girl by pretending to be her mother

Woman's motherly instincts kicked in, she told the suspect, 'That's my child, give her back to me.'

Good Samaritan foils kidnapping attempt of 12-year-old girl by pretending to be her mother
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Terry Vine

Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 8, 2021. It has since been updated.

Thanks to a quick-thinking good Samaritan, a 12-year-old girl named Amy Martinez narrowly escaped a kidnapper. Speaking to KTLA, Amy recounted walking to Lathrop Intermediate School in Santa Ana when a homeless woman suddenly grabbed her. "I thought that I was never going to see my mom or my family again," Amy shared about the 2018 incident. "She just came up to me and went like this," Amy said, simulating a bear hug. "And then she started walking with me away."


The young girl said she screamed for help. "She told me in Spanish not to cry, but I wasn't even crying," Amy revealed. "I thought I wouldn't see my mom or my dad again. She was saying that the demons are coming, Satan is here." Fortunately, as the suspect forced her to walk, the child saw another woman driving by. Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told reporters that the woman in the car, who had just dropped off her child at a local high school and was headed home, saw what was going on and quickly devised a plan to stop the possible kidnapping. "Amy was kind of struggling to get away, so then those were the signs that something wasn't right," the good Samaritan, who did not want to be identified, told KABC-TV.


"I'll never forget the way she looked at me," the woman told NBC Los Angeles. "Her eyes were screaming for help." She quickly pulled over and asked the child if she was OK, and Amy said no. "She doesn't know if it's a mother having an issue with her daughter, but something doesn't look right because the suspect is homeless and her hair's messy,'' Bertagna said of the stranger. "So she makes a turn, comes around and asked the young victim, 'Are you OK?' and the victim looked at her and shook her head no, and she could see the fright in her eyes.''


Understanding the urgency, the woman quickly devised a plan. "She said she had five seconds to think of something to save this child," said Bertagna. "She told the suspect she was the child's mother and demanded her back." Bertagna added that the woman's motherly instincts kicked in, and after insisting three times, the suspect finally let Amy go.

"I was basically yelling, 'Let her go,' so as soon as my voice changed, she let her go and Amy walked into my car," the good Samaritan said. The rescuer called the police and the child's family as she drove Amy to school. "It's a place where there's a lot of cars and not one stopped until this lady came, in our eyes, she's our angel," said Cinthia Esparza, the girl's aunt. Based on a detailed description provided by the rescuer, police arrested a 34-year-old woman named Claudia Cruz Hernandez on suspicion of kidnapping a minor younger than 14. Praising the woman who stopped the possible kidnapping, Bertagna said: "We always say if you see something say something. Well, she saw something and did something."

Amy's mom also thanked the unnamed woman for stepping in to save her daughter. "I just want to say thank you so much and I hope that there's more people like you out there," she said. Meanwhile, the rescuer said she would do it again if she had to. "You're a parent, you see somebody else's child in danger, automatically you react as if it was yours," she said.

More Stories on Scoop