FRESNO, Calif. (CBS/AP) An 8-year-old girl who was abducted while playing outside a home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver recognized the suspect's vehicle and cut it off, police said.
When the driver saw the girl's head in the window, he cut the truck off and she bolted.
"The second time I cut him off and the little girl stuck her head out and that's when I said 'OK, that ain't your little girl right there.'" Victor Perez said CBS News' "The Early Show," adding that he didn't immediately see the girl in the truck.
The girl was found in Fresno about 11 hours after she disappeared around 8:30 p.m. Monday, triggering a statewide Amber Alert. The suspect - identified as Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, of Fresno - was later arrested.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the driver, unemployed construction worker Victor Perez, was following a truck that matched the description of the abductor's vehicle. The driver recognized the truck from media reports that showed surveillance video of the vehicle.
She was taken to Community Regional Medical Center. Dyer described her as "frightened, traumatized."
The truck was later spotted by authorities, who had received a tip about its whereabouts, and Gonzalez was arrested in the parking lot of an apartment complex, police said.
Authorities said the girl was playing with six other girls when the suspect - 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 her and drove away, as witnesses chased the vehicle, police said.
Fresno police said Gonzalez fits the description of a man who had exposed himself to two girls earlier in the day.
Dyer told "The Early Show" that Perez is a hero.
"I think there's a high likelihood that Victor's involvement ultimately ended up saving her life. We know that the longer a victim who has been abducted is with the assailant, the more likelihood is that we're not going to be able to recover them alive," he said. "So, Victor's a hero and rightfully so, he's being recognized."
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