Kidnapped girl rescued after police chase - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Kidnapped girl rescued after police chase

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Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2009 2:09 am | Updated: 1:50 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A 5-year-old girl abducted by a man as she played outside her Phoenix home Friday was rescued hours later after police chased down the suspect's pickup and found her "alive and well" inside, officials said.

The girl was located around 9 p.m. after a patrol officer spotted the truck of the man accused of kidnapping her, Sgt. Andy Hill said.

"We have had our Christmas miracle," Hill said. "She is alive and well."

Hill credited a "very alert" policeman with taking quick action after spotting what appeared to be the suspect's vehicle driving on a west Phoenix avenue, even though the license plate was different from earlier reports.

Officer Mike Burns pulled alongside the truck and "saw a suspect that matched the description and thought he saw a small child," Hill told The Associated Press.

He said the pickup sped off and Burns gave chase and alerted the force. Officers put spike strips across the road several blocks away that punctured the suspect's tires and caused him to lose control and crash.

The man took off through the neighborhood on foot but was chased down by officers after about a block and arrested.

Police have not released the suspect's name or provided any details about him.

"We have to determine if this is the original suspect," Hill said.

The sergeant said she appeared to be in good shape but was being examined by health officials and he had no other details.

Police received the call that the girl had been taken at about 2:15 p.m. An Amber Alert was issued, and authorities began combing the area on foot, by car and with helicopters.

Hill said she had been playing in a common area at the complex with her two sisters, ages 7 and 9, when a man parked his brown pickup in a nearby parking lot and walked over to them carrying a camera.

"He physically grabbed the 7-year-old girl and forcibly took a photo of her," Hill said.

The man then forced her into the truck and drove away. Witnesses reported that as the man was fleeing, he hit a parked car before entering southbound 19th Avenue.

"At that point, we had a couple of adult witnesses there who saw the suspect and the girl inside the truck with him," Hill said.

The girl and her sisters had been staying at an apartment in the complex with an aunt, who apparently has legal custody of them, and the aunt's boyfriend, Hill said. The girls' parents live separately out of state.

After the abduction, the girl's older sister went to a neighbor's apartment and pounded on the door, The Arizona Republic reported on its Web site. The woman who answered, Donna Reed, said the girl was carrying a ball and appeared to be shaking.

"She said some man just took her little sister," Reed told the newspaper. "She was a nervous wreck."

Reed called 911.

The FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also helped with the search.

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