One observant bystander’s quick actions probably saved the life of one abducted 13-year-old girl in California.
Police and prosecutors said 61-year-old Steven Robert Sablan of Cleburne, Texas, was arrested in Long Beach, California, and charged with kidnapping and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. https://t.co/lkbd1S21cQ
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) July 22, 2023
The bystander was outside a laundromat when he spotted a piece of paper that read, “Help Me,” written in red ink. The bystander then contacted the police, who responded and found the girl in a car, with the suspect nearby and the child mouthing the word “help.”
Steven Robert Sablan, 61, of Texas, has been charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. He allegedly abducted the girl at gunpoint in San Antonio on July 6, drove her to Long Beach, and sexually assaulted her repeatedly. @TheNewsTrending pic.twitter.com/MKXhCWMI3E
— Hot news (@TheNewsTrending) July 21, 2023
According to Court records, the suspect —identified as Steven Robert Sablan— kidnaped the girl by threatening to harm her.
“If you don’t get in the car with me, I am going to hurt you,” the suspect allegedly told the 13-year-old while brandishing a weapon.
The girl, who San Antonio authorities already listed as a runaway, informed Sablan that she was 13 years old once inside the vehicle. She also told the suspect that she had a friend in Australia before Sablan promised to take her to a cruise ship.
The suspect, however, told the girl that she must do something for him first before he takes her to the cruise ship. Sblan then assaulted the girl before driving on a two-day trip to California.
Texas man allegedly kidnaps teenage girl, sexually assaults her while traveling to Long Beach https://t.co/nFiDHfHgEk
— KCAL News (@kcalnews) July 21, 2023
According to the United States Attorney’s Office, the suspect assaulted the 13-year-old two more times during the two-day road trip.
Sablan then drove the victim to the laundromat in Long Beach to wash their clothes. The suspect left the 13-year-old inside the vehicle while he went into the laundromat. The girl then took a piece of paper and scribbled the words “Help me” on it, leading to her rescue.
When police searched the suspect’s vehicle, they found a black BB gun, a pair of handcuffs, and the victim’s note.
“I want to commend our community members for their vigilance and willingness to get involved by calling 911. This incident highlights the critical role community members play in keeping people safe,” Long Beach Police Chief Wally Hebeish said in a statement.
The federal grand jury indicted the suspect on July 20 on charges of kidnapping and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal carnal activity.