By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Jan. 6, 2014
ANTIOCH, Calif. – Imagine your own child, abducted in front of your own home, in front of your very own eyes. This nightmare became real for a Filipino family in Northern California on Friday night.
Gina Calvo watched helplessly as her 7-year-old daughter Natalie was snatched by an armed man.
It began at a supermarket, where Natalie and her mother went shopping.
According to Highway Patrol officers, Natalie and her mother, Gina, were allegedly followed by the suspect, from an East Bay Walmart, all the way to their home.
At about 6:45 p.m., the suspect reportedly approached Natalie as she got out of the car with her mother. Police said her mother tried to stop the abduction, but hesitated when she saw the man had a rifle. He forced Natalie into his car and fled.
Police reached out to the media immediately, which broadcast Natalie’s picture and information on the suspect and his vehicle.
Just before midnight, 43-year-old David Allen Douglas, who is described by police as Filipino, was arrested after officers found his car with Natalie inside at a downtown marina.
Natalie, who had no apparent injuries, was reunited with her family.
The Calvo family is not granting media interviews. Natalie’s father Eric told Balitang America that his daughter is just resting.
Some of Natalie’s friends dropped off letters for her.
“I’m really glad you’re home and you’re safe,” Brianna, a friend of Natalie, said.
Natalie’s abduction has left the community here worried for their own safety.
“We shop at the same Walmart. So it concerns me that they were followed there. It could happen to anyone,” Dennis Herrera, a neighbor, said.
“Of course I’m really concerned because I don’t want this to happen to any other kid. But I’m glad they caught him,” Sylvester Williams, a neighbor, said.
As of this broadcast, police have not released information on the charges that Douglas could face. According to the Megan’s Law website, which tracks sex offenders in California, Douglas is not a registered sex offender.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children cited that about 800,000 children are reported missing each year. More than 200,000 are abducted by family members and more than 58,000 are taken by non-relatives. 115 are reportedly snatched by strangers.
The Amber Alert program also played a big role in finding Natalie. The program is a partnership between the police and broadcast and wireless agencies, which activate an urgent bulletin in child abduction cases.
The alert encourages the community to assist in the search and rescue of the child. Natalie was found, because of a tip from a civilian, who knew about her abduction through the Amber Alert program.
You may contact Henni Espinosa at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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