It was a very close call. A little girl is out playing with her friends, her mother turns her back for a few minutes, and the girl is allegedly lured away by a registered sex offender.
Now the girl's mother is speaking out, urging parents to always keep a close watch on their children.
"I'm dealing with it the best way I can, with the support of my family," says Brandy Gallego, the girl's mother. "Its had an effect on her. And we're taking it day by day, making sure I'm there for her."
Gallego's 5-year-old daughter says James Trujillo tried to take her away from her home. The 43-year-old is a convicted sex offender for sexual assault and lewdness with a minor.
Neighbors at this apartment complex in Stead say that on Wednesday evening, they saw the stranger holding the girls hand, and leading her to a secluded area of complex. That's when Trujillo apparently told the little girl to wait, while he went to get his car so he could take her to the store. While she waited alone, she heard her worried mother calling for her, and ran home crying.
"No more than ten minutes went by while all of this occurred," says Gallego. "She came in to check in with me, because she was out playing. She got a glass of water, went back out. I turned my back to start cooking dinner, went to check on my kids, and that's how fast it happened."
Police say neighbors played a critical role in this incident. They noticed the stranger, and after the little girl came home, they confronted him and wouldn't let him get into his car, until he handed over his identification. One neighbor took it even further.
"He went to take off," says neighbor Nicole Robbins. "And I took off behind him. We just need to get him off the street. Because if he's not caught, he's gonna be coming back around, anywhere."
Robbins followed Trujillo in her car at high speeds to this supermarket, where police met them and arrested him. He's charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, luring a child and kidnapping.
"The suspect did grab the girl by the hand," says Sgt. Randy Saulnier. "He did take her a ways from her location onto the street, so that is kidnapping."