A 9-year-old girl in Las Vegas is being hailed a hero after she carried her baby brother to safety after the siblings were kidnapped outside a 7-Eleven.
On Tuesday, Karen Quinn recounted her horrifying experience after having her two young children kidnapped by a man who was later arrested outside a 7-Eleven in North Las Vegas, Fox 5 Vegas reports. The culprit stole Quinn’s car with her two children inside.
“I chased after the car until I couldn’t anymore,” she said.
Quinn had parked outside the 7-Eleven around 8:30 Monday night to use the ATM. She parked her car right outside the front door and left her two kids in her car with the engine running and doors locked.
Mario Estrada, 38, was identified as the suspect who is now facing charges of kidnapping, child abuse, and grand larceny. Police said Estrada released the children “somewhere on Decatur,” and continued in a police car chase that ended with a crash near the intersection of I-15 and Charleston Boulevard.
Quinn recalls making eye contact with Estrada, who she described as “bad in spirit” as he was sitting at a slot machine near the front door. She watched as he got up and walked over to her car to look inside.
When she started walking back to the car to confront him, a 7-Eleven clerk heard the mother “screaming for her babies,” the store employee said.
“He opened the [car] door and I tried to grab him, and I grabbed his sweater in the door, and he reversed, and kind of rolled over the top of my foot,” Quinn said.
“And I was like, ‘Please, my kids are in the car! Please! My kids are in the car!’ He looked back at my daughter. She was like, ‘Mom! Mom!’”
She continued, “And I was like, please just let them out, you can have the car. Just let them out, let them out!”
The mother recalls chasing after the car on foot.
“He went out the store parking lot, he drove west of Cheyenne until he got to Rancho and he made a right,” Quinn said. “And I’m running, ‘cause I didn’t call the police at first cause I’m chasing. I’m just like– I’m going to get this car, I’m going, running, I’m going to get my kids,” said Quinn. She ran for miles down the dark surrounding streets.
Quinn’s brave 9-year-old daughter managed to find her way back to the convenience store with her baby brother in her arms.
“My daughter ran five blocks from the store with my 11-month baby, with no shoes on,” Quinn said.
Police eventually came to let Quinn know that they located her children.
“And he said, ‘We have your kids.’ And when he said that, I just fell to the ground. I was like, ‘Thank you God, thank you God, thank you.’”
Quinn is home safe with her children, but they are all still recovering from the traumatic experience.