Police: Neighbors Help Father Catch Kidnapper

Police said at least one neighbor is responsible for the safe return of a 4-year-old girl after being snatched off her bicycle Sunday.

The kidnapping occurred on Tupper Court in east Bakersfield.

Police said 43-year-old Robert Perez Rodriguez allegedly tried to lure an 11-year-old girl into his car. When she ran to her mother, police said he grabbed 4-year-old Frances Ramirez and took off.

"I felt, very, very like my life was over. Like I wasn't anything," the girl's father, Pedro Ramirez said. "I was watching her from the house and I yelled at her and suddenly she didn't answer anymore."

The girl's father and a neighbor chased Rodriguez's car to Stiern Park, where police said the father rescued his daughter. "We thought we'd never see her again and that's just an experience I don't wish upon any parent." Ramirez said. "We thought we'd never see her again."

Jeannette Merjil who witnessed the abduction, said Rodriguez already had the girl in his car and was pushing her down when she got his license plate and called the police.

Before police officers were able to respond, Ramirez said he raced after his child's alleged abductor, tracking down the maroon Camry to Steirn Park, where he got his daughter back and then continued to pursue Rodriguez in his car.

“I don't know how God gave me the sense to go behind him and not lose him,” Ramirez said.

The car chase continued down Monitor Street where police said Rodriguez tried to ram the victim’s father’s car. Ramirez tracked Rodriguez to a neighborhood near Hughes Lane and Pacheco Road, where after a neighbor's tip, he was later found by police hiding under a truck.

It was a roller coaster of emotions for Ramirez, his wife and daughter. He said it was an experience he wishes upon no one. "Don't leave your children alone, because it's something very hard that I don't even have any words to tell you what I felt yesterday."

“To have this child returned safely, this quickly, is absolutely outstanding,” said Sgt. Greg Terry of the Bakersfield Police Department. He also said Pedro Ramirez is a hero.

Rodriguez will be in court on Tuesday. While he is not a known sex offender, he does have a criminal history and has been charged with kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon.

The girl wasn't injured.

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