When the suspect's vehicle passed by theirs, the couple recalled it matching the Amber Alert description of an alleged kidnapping of an 11-year-old schoolgirl.
When Benny Correa and his wife Amanda Disley were heading back home with their kids after dinner on Wednesday, they happened to spot a familiar car near Brimfield, Massachusetts. The dark blue Honda Civic that had crossed their path had tinted windows and distinctive wheel rims. The couple immediately recalled the vehicle matching the Amber Alert description of an alleged kidnapping of an 11-year-old schoolgirl. According to a report by ABC News, Charlotte Moccia had been allegedly grabbed by a knife-wielding man and forced into his car right after she got off her school bus in Springfield earlier that day.
"We just had a gut feeling it was the car," said Disley during an interview with Good Morning America on Friday. Without wasting any more time, the pair began trailing the vehicle before alerting the authorities and checked the picture of the suspect which was released by the Massachusetts State Police. "It was just an instinct of fight or flight that kicked in," Disley expressed. Initially, the couple managed to follow the car "quietly," however, the driver took notice of this and sped up. Meanwhile, Disley, who was recording this chase, kept speaking to the dispatcher and providing them their location.
Heroes and I would like to think most people would have pursued to perp as well. As they said made sure there were no vehicles approaching when going through red lights to tail the criminal. They knew there was a good chance that little girl would not hv survived. Awesome!— Michael Gallo (@mike856nj73) 17 January 2020
Correa had to run a red light, in order to, get close enough to read the license plate. "I cut off people and I got up close to the car," recalled the man. "I had to do what I had to do, being a father." Speaking to ABC News, Disley revealed that her husband was extremely cautious about his family's safety and that he did slow down and look both ways before running the red light. "We would never put our kids' lives in danger," she added. Once they were able to read the license plate, the information was relayed to the 911 dispatcher who was still on the phone.
Disley also remembers seeing, "someone getting pushed down under the back seat," just as the car of the suspect passed under a street lamp. Unfortunately, their hot pursuit was cut short as their vehicle ran out of gas. Thankfully, the police had enough information and time to spring into action. By the means of a road construction site along Massachusetts Turnpike, the Massachusetts State Police troopers slowed down the traffic into one lane. Soon they spotted the suspect's vehicle and found Charlotte seated in the back seat of the car driven by 24-year-old Miguel Rodriguez, who had placed a knife in the pocket of the door.
The couple who was persistent and brave enough to keep following and not giving up on this little girl needs to be recognized as Hero’s and given a reward 🏆— Daisy Snow (@DaisySn47679787) 17 January 2020
While one of the officers helped the distressed girl out of the car, two others removed Rodriguez at gunpoint. The victim then told the troopers on the scene how Rodriguez had threatened to kill her if her with the knife he was pointing at her, if she screamed or made any attempts to escape, according to the arrest warrant. Following this ordeal, the girl was taken to a hospital nearby for a precautionary evaluation. "It was an absolute life and death situation for this little girl," Cheryl Clapprood, Springfield's Police Commissioner, told ABC News.
The authorities arrested the kidnapper on several charges including assault by means of a dangerous weapon and aggravated kidnapping, as per the warrant. On Thursday a judge denied Rodriguez bail. "We're eternally grateful to the motorists that paid attention to the Amber Alert and called and reported seeing the vehicle," said Massachusetts State Police Lt. Charles Murray appreciating the couple's effort. "There were a number of those calls and they made this rescue possible."
In a statement issued by Charlotte's parents, Carl and Denise Moccia, they thanked everyone who "got the word out to help bring Charlotte home." Further thanking the couple who courageously helped rescue their daughter, her parents said, "In particular we'd like to thank Amanda Disley and her husband for their vigilance and courage for putting themselves in harm's way to make sure she wasn't out of their sight. The outpouring of love and support, near and far, is overwhelming. We are eternally grateful."