An 8-year-old girl was found safe after two “heroes” spotted the car driven by the man suspected of kidnapping her, authorities in Texas said Sunday.
Salem Sabatka was found safe and the 51-year-old man accused of abducting her was taken into custody, Fort Worth Police Department spokesperson Buddy Calzada told reporters.
“It’s a phenomenal feeling,” he said. “This story right now would put a smile on anybody’s face.”
Salem was walking with her mother Saturday evening when a car approached them and a man grabbed the young girl, Calzada said. The woman tried to save her daughter, but the suspect shoved her out of the car and sped away.
Police issued an Amber Alert and posted photos of Salem and the suspect’s car on social media, including a video of the kidnapping captured by a Ring doorbell camera.
Calzada said a pair of churchgoers spotted the car, a gray Ford Five Hundred, in the parking lot of the WoodSpring Suites in the suburb of Forest Hill. The pair, who Calzada declined to identify, recognized it from social media posts about the kidnapping and called the police.
“The police department is extremely proud of them, and I’m sure we’re going to bring them into the light here pretty soon” Calzada said. “They’re our heroes tonight, I’ll tell you that.”
After getting the tip, police found Salem safe at the hotel and escorted her to a local hospital to be reunited with her family, Calzada said. The suspect, Michael Webb, now faces charges of aggravated kidnapping, he added.
Calzada thanked the public and the media for their help in finding Salem.
“We do want to thank all of our followers,” he said. “We’re a good police department we work hard but with you on our side we’re able to be more effective.”
Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg