AVONDALE, Ariz. - Avondale Police are still searching for the woman accused of kidnapping a 10-year-old boy on Tuesday near Central and Western Avenues. Thankfully, police say she abandoned the car and the boy was not hurt.
10-year-old Mario Lopez, who has Spina Bifida, was in the backseat of the car when a friend of his father decided to grab the wheel. The frantic father called the police. His main concern was his son, who is in a wheelchair and couldn't defend himself.
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending, thanks to the smart victim and a good Samaritan.
"When she hopped on over here she was driving and I told her what was going on and she said be quiet," said Mario.
Mario recounted the moment when his father's friend, 20-year-old Janela Ivana Enriquez-Arreola, jumped into the driver's seat and took off from the scene. He says she stopped by several gas stations before the car got a flat tire. She abandoned the vehicle near 32nd Avenue and Van Buren, leaving Mario helpless in the backseat, 15 miles away from his father.
"I didn't get out of the car because I have a wheelchair and I can't walk, so I opened the door and I was screaming for help," he said.
A good Samaritan heard Mario's cries, helped him out of the car and let him use his phone. Mario immediately called his dad.
"I pick up the phone and it was my son's voice on the other end. It was the happiest moment of my life, just knowing that he was talking to me," said Ricardo Lopez.
Lopez is a single father and says he never goes anywhere without Mario. Right before the incident, he was going to drive Janela and Mario to the store, but he forgot his wallet. He got out of the car and went into his home. When he returned, the car was gone.
"At least I'm safe home with my dad," said Mario.
Lopez hopes his son's kidnapper turns herself in before she hurts herself or someone else.
"After what she put us through, she deserves to be in jail.. in prison.. and maybe that's what she needs to get her life together," said Ricardo.
Police believe Enriquez-Arreola is still in the west valley. Once caught, she faces kidnapping, vehicle theft and child endangerment charges. If you have any information about her whereabouts, call the Avondale Police Department at 623-333-7001 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.
Meanwhile, Lopez says his only car is now wrecked and he has no way for him or his son to travel. He set up an account to help raise money for a new car. If you'd like to help, go to www.gofundme.com/mario-mobile.