SAN DIEGO, CA — A courageous eight-year-old girl saved herself and her three-year-old brother by calling 911 after a kidnapper jumped into their car and tried to drive them across the U.S.–Mexico border
This incident happened while Malaiah Cole and her brother were sitting in a parked car with the air conditioning and engine running. Their father, Rodney Cole, had just run into a hair supply store to pick up some products for Malaiah. He was inside for less than two minutes.
Almost immediately, a woman approached the vehicle and got inside it. Rodney Cole bolted out of the shop and attempted to stop her. According to Malaiah:
“She looked at the car and she saw it running and she saw kids in it. Then she just got in it and drove away. I saw my dad coming out the store and I saw him banging on the window, but she rolled the window up.”
Quick-thinking Malaiah then grabbed the cell phone her dad had given her in case of an emergency.
Remaining remarkably calm, Malaiah dialed 911. She described what happened next:
“They said, ‘911, what’s your emergency?’ And I said, ‘Me and my little brother got kidnapped.’ She said, ‘Can you tell us where you are? What do you see?’ I said, ‘I see signs that say Mexico border.’ She tried to take the phone from me, but then I moved away from her. She said, ‘Give me the phone or I’m going to drive in circles and crash into the freeway wall.’”
Eventually, the driver got the phone away from Malaiah but, by then, authorities had pinpointed the vehicle and moved in to rescue the kids. Police have released video that captures the terrifying moment.
Authorities have not yet released the suspect’s name, nor have they identified a motive. They did say the family did not know her.
Speaking through tears of shock and relief, Rodney Cole said of his heroic little Malaiah: “I’m very proud of her.”
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Main photo: Malaiah Cole/YouTube video [screenshot]