A brave Massachusetts couple sprung into action Wednesday evening after spotting a vehicle that matched the description of one police were looking for, and wound up helping authorities save an 11-year-old girl who’d allegedly been kidnapped at knifepoint.
Benny Correa and his wife, Amanda Disley, were on their way home from dinner with family when they noticed a dark blue Honda Civic in Brimfield, Massachusetts.
The car’s windows were tinted and the rims were unique — like the ones they had seen on the news in reports of the afternoon abduction of Charlotte Moccia moments after she’d gotten off the bus from school in Springfield. So, they decided to follow the car — with their five kids seated behind them — and called 911.
“We just had a gut feeling it was the car,” Disley told ABC News in an interview that aired Friday on Good Morning America.
While on the phone with police, the couple confirmed the plate number. It was the suspect’s car.
“It was just an instinct of fight or flight that kicked in,” Disley said in the interview.
They kept pace with the suspect’s car, even as it sped up. Correa even ran a red light — slowing down first to make sure it was safe — while pursuing the vehicle.
“I cut off people and I got up close to the car,” Correa said. “I had to do what I had to do, being a father.”
The couple’s car eventually ran out of gas, and their pursuit ended. But by that point, police set up at a construction site and had oncoming traffic funneled into one lane. When authorities spotted the suspect’s car, they stopped it, saving Charlotte.
“It was an absolute life and death situation for this little girl,” Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood told ABC News.
Miguel Rodriguez, 24, was the driver, and police took him into custody. A knife was recovered from the vehicle.
The girl was taken to the hospital for evaluation.
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Rodriguez was charged with aggravated kidnapping and assault by means of a dangerous weapon. He is being held without bail, and it was unclear Friday if he had entered pleas to those charges or had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
In a statement, Charlotte’s parents, Carl and Denise Moccia, said they were grateful for all of those who helped recover their daughter safely.
“In particular we’d like to thank Amanda Disley and her husband for their vigilance and courage for putting themselves in harm’s way to make sure she wasn’t out of their sight,” the parents said. “The outpouring of love and support, near and far, is overwhelming. We are eternally grateful.”