A mother whose 4-year-old was being abducted chased the suspect down and crashed her vehicle into his car, triggering a manhunt and the arrest of the suspect, Albuquerque police said on Thursday.
The young girl was playing in her yard at about 6.30pm on Wednesday when a group of teenagers saw the kidnapping and ran to alert the girl's mother, police said.
The family called police and the mother jumped into her vehicle and gave chase for about seven miles (11 kilometers), unaware the man had pushed the girl out of the silver Buick before fleeing the apartment complex, authorities said. The girl was found wandering nearby, uninjured, police said.
According to police, the mother, who has not been identified, followed the suspect and finally rammed into his car near an intersection. The suspect fled on foot, police said.
The attempted kidnapping sparked a massive manhunt on Wednesday as more than two dozen officers went door-to-door in the area looking for the suspect. A helicopter with heat-sensor cameras also was sent in for the search, authorities said.
Police arrested David Hernandez, 31, on Thursday afternoon after he saw his picture on television and called police. After being interviewed, he was charged with kidnapping, police spokeswoman Tasia Martinez said.
As he was being taken to jail, Hernandez told reporters that he was innocent. It was not known if Hernandez had an attorney.
Police were also investigating a possible connection to the abduction and sexual assault of a 6-year-old from the same apartment complex last week. The suspect in that case was described as a male in a silver or gray vehicle.
Gilbert Hernandez, 25, a resident at the St. Anthony's, said he found the 6-year-old last week and was the one who contacted police. "This place isn't safe. People always let their kids run around here," Hernandez said. "We are all on the lookout now."