Kidnapper Caught Because of Girl’s “Help Me” Sign

( – Police in California recently rescued a young teen girl who had reportedly been kidnapped and raped. According to the US Attorney’s Office affidavit in this case, the 13-year-old minor was abducted while walking in San Antonio on July 6.

Sixty-one-year-old suspect Steven Sablan allegedly pulled a pistol on the girl and demanded she get in the car or else he would “hurt” her. According to the victim’s sworn statement, she entered his car for fear of being killed if she did not. Despite telling him she was only 13 and did not want to be with him, the suspect went on to repeatedly sexually assault her and began driving her to California.

By July 9, Sablan made a stop at a Long Beach, California laundromat to wash their clothing, locking the girl inside the car. She managed to find a pen to write with and scrawled “help me!” on a piece of paper and held it up to the window. Somebody walking by saw the sign and wondered what was wrong as they saw her crying and “visibly distressed.” As a result, they called police who arrived rapidly only to find Sablan next to the car arguing with those who had called police, and the girl mouthing “help” from inside. Police investigated and found that the girl was on a list of missing minors from the San Antonio area. They also found handcuffs in Sablan’s pocket.

Sablan is known to police and was already a suspect in a robbery in Fort Worth, Texas at the time he was arrested July 9 in Long Beach. He faces up to life in prison if found guilty of the kidnapping and sexual assault of a female minor. He’ll be arraigned July 31 in court in Los Angeles.

According to authorities, the young girl had run away from home the day she was kidnapped, but they do not believe she and Sablan had been in touch in any way or talked prior to the random kidnapping. Chelsea Norell of the US Attorney’s office praised the “Good Samaritans” who responded to the girl’s cry for help, also praising the girl’s “foresight” in thinking of a way to escape.

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