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Texas teen rescued from alleged kidnapper by holding up ‘help me’ sign in parked car

A teen girl kidnapped from Texas was rescued earlier this month in southern California when a bystander saw her holding up a “help me” sign in a parked car.

The 13-year-old, who has not been named publicly, was “visibly emotional and distressed” when cops reported to the scene of the sighting in Long Beach around 10:19 a.m. on July 9, the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement on Thursday.

The officers subsequently learned that a stranger noticed the girl holding a sign that read “help me” in red letters in the window of a parked car on the 100 block of East 10th Street, the official account continued.

The Good Samaritan acknowledged the teen and called 911.

Police arrested a male suspect, 61-year-old Steven Robert Sablan, at the scene, NBC Los Angeles reported.

Sablan, of Cleburne, Texas, was in the Easy Wash Laundromat at the time of the miraculous sighting.

Investigators later learned that Sablan allegedly approached the teen near a bus stop in San Antonio and forced her into his gray Nissan Sentra at knifepoint.

The girl's help me sign.
The girl's help me sign.

“‘If you don’t get in the car with me, I am going to hurt you,’” he told the girl, according to court documents cited by the US Attorney’s Office, Central District of California.

At one point during their drive, the girl mentioned that she had a friend in Australia, the statement explained.

Sablan then promised to put the teen on a cruise ship to visit the friend, but she “had to do something for him first.”

The man threatened the girl into his car with a black handgun, which is pictured in the indictment.
The man threatened the girl into his car with a black handgun, which is pictured in the indictment.

He proceeded to drive from Texas to California over the next three days and raped the girl on multiple occasions, investigators said.

On Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted Sablan on one count of kidnapping and one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

His arraignment is set for July 31 in downtown Los Angeles.

The laundromat.
The laundromat.

The 13-year-old, who was listed as a runaway, is now in the custody of the Department of Child and Family services.

Touch Vong, who runs the Easy Wash Laundromat, told NBC Los Angeles that the suspect immediately gave her a bad feeling.

“He looked down at me,” she said of the moment she saw him with the young girl shortly before the rescue.

“She is my customer,” Vong added of the local hero who alerted police to the teen’s plight.

“She always comes to wash here, and she came and told me the girl in the car needed help.”

SOURCE: New york post