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NM man hailed hero for rescuing kidnapped girl

August 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A New Mexico father has his neighbor to thank for thwarting the kidnapping of his 6-year-old girl.

The child was walking in her Albuquerque neighborhood Monday, when a van stopped and a man pulled her inside.

The neighbor, Antonio Diaz Chacon, saw what happened, jumped into his pickup, and then chased down the driver through a maze of neighborhoods.

The suspect, 29-year-old Phillip Garcia, eventually crashed and ran off and the little girl was safe. After fleeing on foot, Garcia returned to his vehicle and took off but was later captured by police.

The child's father, who didn't want his face shown on camera, said the close call shows good people are still out there.

"He said that he feels very lucky and thanks God a lot, and that man. He's just really happy that he got my sister back," said the victim's oldest sister, who was translating for her father.

The girl was grabbed with such force, that police said bruising had already begun to appear on her chest and back Monday night. The girl told police the man put his hand over her mouth and she bit him. She also said the man shoved her on the floorboard to keep her head under the window view, according to the police report.

Garcia was arrested and remains in jail. He was on probation for a battery case from last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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