Colorado girl escapes apparent kidnapper, calls 911

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A missing 9-year-old girl escaped an apparent kidnapper and called 911 herself from a convenience store in Colorado Springs on Friday, police said.

The Pueblo girl was reported missing Thursday night after she failed to return home from school.

The car of the man accused of kidnapping the girl broke down Friday morning in Colorado Springs, and a passerby gave them a ride to a Circle K, police said.

The girl ran into the store and asked to use the phone to call her uncle but instead called 911, which prompted the man to take off, authorities said.

Police identified the suspect as Jose Garcia, 29, but haven’t said how they connected him to the kidnapping. Colorado Springs police spokeswoman Barbara Miller said he was in custody Friday afternoon.

Pueblo County court records said Garcia was wanted on suspicion of kidnapping and sex assault on a child. Pueblo police did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the potential charges.

Efren Vialpando told The Gazette he saw the girl come in the Circle K with two black eyes and a bruise on her lip and face. She had refused to leave the store with the man, saying, “I ain’t going nowhere. I’m waiting for my momma.” He said the suspect fled after that.

A Circle K employee declined to comment, citing store policy.

The girl was taken to a hospital Friday morning. Police spokeswoman Barbara Miller said details of the girl’s condition won’t be released because of her age.

The FBI helped with the investigation.

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