Phoenix Girl Rescued in 'Christmas Miracle'

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Phoenix Girl Rescued in 'Christmas Miracle'

Post by FystyAngel on Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:27 pm

Phoenix Girl Rescued in 'Christmas Miracle'

PHOENIX (Dec. 26) - A patrol officer spotted a suspected kidnapper's car and aided in the rescue of a 5-year-old girl, who was found uninjured in what police are calling Phoenix's "Christmas miracle."

Natalie Flores was rescued at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, more than seven hours after she was scooped up by a stranger while playing with her sisters outside their Phoenix apartment building.

"She is alive and well," police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said.

Hill credited a "very alert" policeman with taking quick action after spotting what appeared to be the suspect's vehicle driving on a west Phoenix avenue, even though the license plate differed from reports.



Officer Mike Burns pulled alongside and "saw a suspect that matched the description and thought he saw a small child," Hill told The Associated Press.

He said the pickup sped off, and Burns gave chase and alerted the force. Officers put spike strips across the road several blocks away that punctured the suspect's tires, causing him to crash on the roadside.

The man took off on foot but was caught and arrested a block away after a brief struggle.

"She is alive and well thanks to the timely diligence of officer Burns," Hill said. "It is rare in stranger abduction cases so much time can pass without a tragic ending. This was truly a Christmas miracle."

Police said the suspect is a 45-year-old man, but they haven't released his name and or any other details.

Hill said the man was being questioned by police and held on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault on a police officer and felony pursuit.

The sergeant said Natalie appeared to be in good shape but was being examined by health officials.

Police received the call that Natalie had been taken at about 2:15 p.m. An Amber Alert was issued, and authorities began combing the area on foot, by car and with helicopters.

Hill said the child had been playing in a common area at the apartment complex with her two sisters, ages 7 and 9, when a man parked his brown pickup in a nearby parking lot and walked over to them carrying a camera.

"He physically grabbed the 7-year-old girl and forcibly took a photo of her," Hill said.

The man then forced Natalie into the truck and drove away. Witnesses reported that as the man was fleeing, he hit a parked car before entering southbound 19th Avenue.

Natalie and her sisters had been staying at an apartment in the complex with an aunt who has legal custody of them, Hill said. The girls' parents live separately out of state.

After the abduction, Natalie's older sister went to a neighbor's apartment and pounded on the door, The Arizona Republic reported. The woman who answered, Donna Reed, said the girl was carrying a ball and appeared to be shaking.

"She said some man just took her little sister," Reed told the newspaper. "She was a nervous wreck."

Reed called 911.

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Re: Phoenix Girl Rescued in 'Christmas Miracle'

Post by Piper on Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:42 pm

This is quite the miracle that little Natalie was found so quickly. After 7 hours, the worst imaginable could have happened. I'm glad she's safe.

This part is chilling as well:

"He physically grabbed the 7-year-old girl and forcibly took a photo of her," Hill said.

Why would a kidnapper/abducter stop and take the time to take a picture of her? Did he want to capture the terror on her face?
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Suspect identified in kidnapping of Phoenix girl

Post by Justice4all on Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:13 pm



By AMANDA LEE MYERS
Associated Press Writer

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police Officer Mike Burns had just finished searching a desert area for signs of a 5-year-old girl and the man who had kidnapped her as she played with her sisters on Christmas Day.

No luck. But as Burns drove down a north Phoenix street, he spotted a truck that matched descriptions of the kidnapper's vehicle, and a man and a little girl inside.

When the truck made an abrupt turn and sped off, Burns knew he couldn't let it out of his sight.

"There was no doubt in my mind," Burns told reporters on Saturday, "If he disappears, we may not get her back."

About 10 minutes later, 45-year-old Larry Jon Ladwig was under arrest, and the frightened girl was rescued and taken to a Phoenix police facility that aids young victims of crime, where it was determined she had been molested. The girl was treated and is back home with her family, police Sgt. Andy Hill said.

Ladwig was booked into jail early Saturday on charges of kidnapping, sexual molestation of a child, aggravated assault of a police officer and felony flight. It's unclear whether Ladwig has a lawyer, and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to a request to interview him.

Statistically, Hill said if police don't recover a child abducted by a stranger within the first several hours, "chances are slim of recovering them alive."

"We really did have a Christmas miracle," he said.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation/AP/story/1399239.html
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Re: Phoenix Girl Rescued in 'Christmas Miracle'

Post by Justice4all on Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:20 pm

Officer Burns is a hero. I'm glad he was alert enough to spot the vehicle and save the little girl from a tragic ending.
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Re: Phoenix Girl Rescued in 'Christmas Miracle'

Post by FystyAngel on Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:30 pm

Though it is truly a miracle that she was found alive & so quickly, one thing certainly stands out as I read his charges...
Ladwig was booked into jail early Saturday on charges of kidnapping, sexual molestation of a child, aggravated assault of a police officer and felony flight.
He WAS charged with "sexual molestation". The little girls & her family's lives will never been the same. I hope they put his sorry ass in general population so someone can give him what he deserves.

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Re: Phoenix Girl Rescued in 'Christmas Miracle'

Post by Piper on Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:39 pm

I agree J4A, and that her sisters could describe the man and the vehicle under traumatizing circumstances. Little Natalie has experienced abduction and molestation at the tender age of 5. As horrific as all this is, thank God he hadn't murdered her yet. I'd say it was bound to happen. Officer Burns is a true hero.
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Re: Phoenix Girl Rescued in 'Christmas Miracle'

Post by randilynn on Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:40 am

i say burns was a christmas angel for this little girl.

what she went through is tragic, but at least she was found before this monster could "do away with her"..

prayers go out to this little one and family, and of course officer burns..
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