ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The hero, who risked his own life to rescue a neighborhood girl he didn't know, said he was only doing what was right.
Antonio Diaz Chacon has two girls of his own. He said when he saw the six-year-old forced into a mysterious van, he just reacted.
Antonio and his wife Martha are grateful they were in the right place at the right time. They were loading up his truck when he said he heard another neighbor yelling at a man, who police later identified as Phil Garcia, to let go of a 6-year-old girl, who was walking home from a neighbor's house in a south valley mobile home park.
Martha translated what her husband told her when they saw Garcia push the girl into a van.
"We have to save her," Martha translated.
Antonio didn't hesitate; he took off in his truck while Martha called 911.
She can be heard telling the dispatcher, "The man came running to us and said they stole our little girl."
Antonio said he followed Garcia for about 15 minutes as he swerved in and out of neighborhoods and sped down busy streets.
Finally Garcia crashed, and Antonio went to grab the girl. Garcia also got out.
"When he was really scared was when the van stalled and he got off the van and my husband thought maybe he has a gun," said Martha.
Garcia took off running on the mesa. Antonio got the girl out of the van and put her in his truck.
The couple can't stop thinking about what could have been.
"What if, what if we hadn't seen him?" Martha questioned. "What if he had been two minutes earlier?"
Martha said the family of that little girl told her husband, "That we gave them their life back."
"That could have been our kid and we would have wanted somebody to do that for our kid if that would have happened, God forbid," said Martha.
As for Phil Garcia, cops said they caught the 29-year-old kidnapper on the mesa. Detectives said Garcia tried to ditch a roll of tape and straps near the van. They found more inside the van. Cops said Garcia removed the backseats from the van before taking the girl.
The little girl was bruised and her clothes ripped. Police said she fought back, even biting Garcia's fingers when he pulled her into the van.
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