Woman saves girl from kidnapper by pretending to be her mother

Posted at 1:34 AM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 01:34:22-05

SANTA ANA, CA (KTLA/CNN) – A 12-year-old girl says a woman grabbed her while she was walking to school and tried to kidnap her, but a good Samaritan intervened, thwarting the crime.

Amy Martinez, 12, was on the way to school Wednesday morning when she was confronted by a woman – later identified as Claudia Hernandez Diaz – who was described as homeless.

Hernandez Diaz grabbed her in a bear hug out of nowhere, Amy says, and began walking away with her.

The girl says she yelled for the woman to let her go, but she didn’t.

"She just said – she told me in Spanish not to cry, but I wasn't even crying,” Amy said.

That’s when a good Samaritan, who had just dropped her child off at school, saw what was going on and pulled over.

"She said she had, in her mind, five seconds to come up with something to save this child. She tells the suspect that she's the child's mother and she wants the child back,” said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna with the Santa Ana Police.

Amy says she knew at that time that the stranger was trying to save her.

"I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to live,’” the 12-year-old said.

After rescuing the girl, the good Samaritan drove her to school.

Amy says she’s grateful the woman came to her aid.

"I want to say thank you for saving my life, and you're my hero,” she said.

Police later arrested Hernandez Diaz for the crime.

Copyright 2018 KTLA, Santa Ana Police Dept. via CNN. All rights reserved.