SANTA ANA, CA — A homeless woman attempted to kidnap a 12-year-old girl on her way to school on Wednesday morning, only to be thwarted by a quick-thinking Good Samaritan who pulled over and claimed to be the child’s mother.
Police arrested Claudia Hernandez Diaz, 24, after she physically accosted Amy Martinez, 12, while the child was en route to Lathrop Intermediate School.
Amy said Diaz put her in a one-armed bear hug and forced her to walk with her, telling the child not to cry. Amy screamed for help instead, which attracted the attention of a mom driving by who had just dropped off her kids at the school.
The Good Samaritan, who is remaining anonymous, got out of her car, said she was Amy’s mother, and demanded that Diaz let the girl go. Once she had the girl in safety, the hero mom drove Amy to school and called 911.
The Samaritan told the press:
“I saw that Amy was stuggling to get away, and those were the signs that something wasn’t right … I was basically yelling, ‘Let her go!’ So as soon as my voice changed, she let her go and Amy walked into my car.”
Amy’s actual mom, understandably shaken up, said that from now on, a family member would drive her daughter to class in the morning.
Amy’s aunt, who rushed to school, added about the Samaritan, “In our eyes, she is going to be our angel.”
Speaking to reporters, Amy Martinez shared her own message for the Good Samaritan: “I want to say thank you for saving my life, and you’re my hero!”
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Main photos: Claudia Hernandez Diaz [Santa Ana Police Dept]; Amy Martinez/YouTube video [screenshot]