A battered 9-year-old Colorado girl is safe at home this weekend after she bravely stood up to a kidnapper, authorities said.
The girl was snatched while walking home from school in Colorado Springs on Thursday, local police said.
Her parents said they knew that something was wrong when she didn't return home at her normal time.
It is believed that 29-year-old Jose Humberto Garcia was the kidnapper, police said. An Amber Alert was issued at the time of the kidnapping.
Nearly 18 hours after the two headed north, a tire on Garcia's truck got a flat, then they crashed. They hitched a ride to a Circle K convenience store which is where Cordova plotted her escape.
The young girl went inside the store and asked to use the phone saying she needed to call her uncle, authorities said. Instead, she dialed 911.
"She had two black eyes, a bruised lip, and a bruise on her cheek," Daniel Espinoz, who was inside the Circle K at the time.
"She was in bad shape," said witness, Efrin Villapando. "The bruise on her face was enormous."
Authorities are not sure how she received her injuries.
After the phone call, Garcia attempted to get her to leave the store. The girl immediately refused.
"She just said, 'No. I ain’t going nowhere. I'm waiting right here for my momma,'" Villapando told KMGH 7 News.
Garcia, who is suspected in a separate molestation case, left before cops arrived. He was arrested hours later at a bus stop only a few miles from the store, according to KMGH 7 News.
He is being held on $250,000 bail. He is being charged with kidnapping and sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, according to The Gazette in Colorado Springs.
"Thank you, God! Thank you for the media. Thank you for everybody who watched, who kept an eye out for my daughter and brought her home," Stephanie Cordova, the girl's mother, said on KMGH 7 News.
Interim Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey praised the 9-year-old.
"We have a very, very brave, courageous young lady who did things to save her life, and I'm very, very proud of her," he said.