3-year-old taken in stolen car found safe

News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — It was a terrifying few hours for a family in Merced Monday evening. Officers at the Chowchilla Police Department helped get 3-year-old Jessie Sanchez is back in her parent’s arms.

Our cameras were there for the emotional reunion as officers brought Jessie back to her home.

Her mom Melissa says they were going to get a car wash around 7 p.m. and were about to leave their home when she ran back to her porch to grab her purse and left the car running.

RELATED: Merced Police searching for suspect who stole car with 3-year-old inside

She says Jessie’s grandmother was keeping an eye on the car but in a split second someone jumped in the drivers street and drove off with her little girl still in the back seat.

“I  know she is so smart, so strong so brave but you just don’t know. Your mind is in a fog for that moment anything could be happening. I just thank God for the PD and social media– the way the Amber Alert on Facebook and I’m so thankful for the person who saw the license plate and called it.”

Melissa says she chased the car for blocks but the driver got away. An Amber Alert went out and someone spotted the car in Chowchilla near a Chevron gas station.

Police there, then found the car abandoned by the driver near Robertson Boulevard. Inside was Jessie, scared but not hurt.

“Three years old probably scared to death because a stranger is driving her moms car, assuming she doesn’t know where she is going. So probably emotionally distraught wouldn’t talk to her until tomorrow at the earliest,” said Merced Police Capt. Jay Struble.

Investigators don’t have a description of the man since it was very dark and are are gathering security camera footage from around Merced and Chowchilla.

Jessies parents described whoever did this as ruthless but they are extremely grateful to have their little girl back home.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.

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