Mother speaks out after 9-year-old daughter kidnapped and released in Sanger

Friday, February 23, 2024
Mother speaks out after 9-year-old daughter kidnapped and released in Sanger
The Sanger Police Department continues to investigate after a girl was briefly kidnapped on Wednesday.

SANGER, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Sanger Police Department is continuing to investigate after a girl was briefly kidnapped on Wednesday.

Police say a 9-year-old girl was walking home from Jefferson Elementary School near JFK Park when a white van or SUV pulled up beside her.

The girl told officers that a man and woman in a white van or SUV took her and then let her go a few blocks later.

Through tears, Yeni, the mother of the young girl, spoke to Action News one day after the kidnapping.

In Spanish, she explained she was frustrated and angry and that her daughter had been left traumatized.

She adds her daughter doesn't want to leave the house out of fear she'll be taken again.

Yeni says her daughter was walking near JFK Park when a white van or SUV pulled up next to her.

"She said someone was in the back seat with their face covered, all in black," said Yeni. "You could only see their eyes. They had blue eyes. The driver was a woman with short blonde hair."

A picture that was drawn by Yeni's daughter on Thursday describes the man and woman who kidnapped her.

She says he was wearing dark clothing with a mask on.

He jumped out, grabbed her, and put her in the vehicle.

A young kidnapping victim in Sanger is safe at home but her mother is now sharing the emotional scars her daughter has suffered.

RELATED: 9-year-old girl safe after being kidnapped in Sanger, police say

She said there was a woman driving the vehicle.

The kidnappers drove only a few blocks before they stopped and let her out.

Visibly emotional, Yeni said she was on her way to pick up her daughter after saying goodbye to a visitor when she ran into her on the street.

"I told her, 'What happened?!" My daughter could not talk," said Yeni. "She could not tell me a thing. She was just crying. I would not control her, so I tried to calm her down so that she could tell me what happened."

She called the Sanger Police Department after her daughter explained what happened.

Detectives are still looking for the attempted kidnappers.

Yeni encourages anyone with security cameras to look through their footage.

She explains that out of all the years she's lived in Sanger, nothing this has ever happened.

"My message to the public is that, unfortunately, we are not in a safe place," said Yeni. "We can't trust anyone. As soon as you leave your house, anyone can take your children."

Yeni adds she talked to her daughter about what to do if something like this ever happened.

She's grateful that her daughter fought back and made it home.

The incident has left other kids in Sanger on edge.

After hearing about the kidnapping, Mari De Los Santos had to talk to her kids about what happened.

She also has a daughter who goes to Jefferson Elementary.

"That's exactly what you need to do if something happens," said De Los Santos. "Scream and kick. Do not stop screaming at all."

De Los Santos said her daughter is in the same grade as the young girl who was kidnapped.

She said what happened was terrifying. She adds that her family is going to be more vigilant when they're going on their walks.

Aurelia Lopez says her son is also a student at Jefferson.

"He couldn't sleep. He was a little scared about the whole situation. I had to just kind of give him another conversation about how he's okay," Lopez explained.

She says she's not taking any chances when it comes to her kid's safety.

"So, we gotta be careful. We just gotta watch and be vigilant," explained Lopez.

The school district confirmed that the young girl did see a counselor on Thursday.

The district says it is doing everything it can to support her and her family.

Sanger Police increased its patrols around schools in the area.

Detectives are looking for surveillance video in the area that might show the van or SUV described by the girl.

For news updates, follow Vince Ybarra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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