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Couple helps catch man suspected of abducting 11-year-old Charlotte Moccia at bus stop

Posted at 8:26 AM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 08:37:13-05

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -- During a press conference on Wednesday, police credited civilians for their role in helping locate the suspect and said they made it possible to have a license plate number to look out for.

Social media played a huge role in trying to find 11-year-old Charlotte Moccia.

Amanda Disley of Springfield, Massachusetts, said she saw the posts on Facebook and, when she saw that Charlotte was kicking and screaming and forced in a car, she knew she had to find her.

Disley just never expected to be in the right place at the right time, so that could happen.

Disley and her husband, Benny Correa, were just picking up dinner Wednesday night while reports spread of the abduction that happened on Amherst Street in Springfield.

They were at a stop sign on Arnold Avenue when Correa explained, “I said 'Yo babe. That’s that car. That’s that car! I seen that car, you showed me that car, that’s the car!'"

To make sure they weren’t mistaken, Disley quickly pulled up a picture of the suspected car she saw on Facebook.

That’s when they took a right onto Boston Road and began to follow it.

"The car was dark, dark, dark ... at least 5 percent I pulled up against it when I got to Harvey Street and I flashed my high beams and the guy pulls up his hood and covers his face and started to dart up Harvey Street and I darted right behind him," Correa explained.

Video shows the couple follow behind the suspect, identified as Miguel Rodriguez, 24, while on the phone with 911.

“My husband reversed on the main road, we blocked him. He jumped over a curb and that’s when the high beams flashed right into his driver and I saw his complete face. He threw the hood back over his face and I saw someone in the backseat pushing someone down and that’s when we knew this is it. This is him," Disley added.

Disley noted, “When he noticed that we were really chasing him all the way down the side streets, he just started blowing through every single red light and my husband blew threw every single red light with him."

The couple was not giving up and refused to let the suspect get away.

"He’s going through red lights, he’s going through red lights," Disley is heard saying while on the phone with 911.

Disley and Correa never expected to be in that position, with their own five kids in their car, but they knew that in the car they were chasing, it was possibly life or death for another child.

“I feel relieved we didn’t chase the wrong person and I feel relieved my husband stepped up and that we got the plates because the plates lead to them finding him on the highway because there was no notice of any plates," Disley said.

The two praise police on their response because as they were chasing the suspect, they ran out of gas.

Police spotted Rodriguez’s vehicle on the Massachusetts Turnpike and arrested him at gunpoint.

Authorities said Charlotte was recovered with no apparent injuries, still wearing the backpack she had on after getting off the bus hours earlier.

The couple, who helped police track down the suspect, said their car also took a beating. They are dealing with damage they were never anticipating.

“We blew our suspension ... I hit some dirt. I almost killed me and my kids because I jumped in front of cars and blew threw red lights and...but I wasn’t thinking about that. I played it safe. I looked both ways before I crossed the street, made sure there were no cars coming before I ate the red and I was on him," Correa said.

Hours later and still trying to process what they just did has been difficult but said it’s exactly what they hope anyone would’ve done when a child’s life is at stake.

"It takes a village," Disley said.

Correa added, "It’s a city, it’s our city. We don’t do that kind of stuff around here, that’s not how we play. There’s zero tolerance for that.”

While their car is now damaged, they said that’s nothing considering the role they played in making sure 11-year-old Charlotte is back with her family safe.

"There’s still good people in the world, not all people are bad. Just play it safe and make sure you watch yourselves at all times. The world is not what it used to be," Correa said.

Rodriguez faces charges of kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and witness intimidation.