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Couple who chased kidnapper of 11-year-old say it was down to ‘fight or flight’ instinct 

A Massachusetts couple said ‘fight or flight’ kicked in when they spotted a car wanted in the abduction of a young girl who was snatched at knife-point after getting off a school bus. 

Amanda Disley and her husband, Benny Correa, appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the harrowing moment they helped save 11-year-old Charlotte Moccia on Wednesday. 

The couple was driving home from dinner with their five children when they recognized a blue Honda Civic as the vehicle Springfield authorities identified in the kidnapping. 

Charlotte was walking home from Hampden Charter School of Science on Wednesday around 1.26pm when a knife-wielding man allegedly grabbed the girl and forced her into into his vehicle. 

The abduction occurred shortly after she walked off her school bus.  

‘We just had a gut feeling it was the car,’ Disley said during the interview.

Correa, who was behind the wheel, began following the Honda Civic after the couple double-checked a photo of the suspect’s vehicle released by the Massachusetts State Police. 

Meanwhile, Disley called 911 and spoke with a dispatcher as the suspect sped through the streets and ran red lights. 

Benny Correa (left) and Amanda Disley (right) revealed that it was a ‘fight or flight’ instinct when they chose to pursue a vehicle wanted in the kidnapping of a young girl 

‘It was just an instinct of fight or flight that kicked in,’ Disley said.

Correra was forced to chase behind the suspected car, even running a red light, in an effort to get close enough to read the license plate. 

The possibility of saving Charlotte resonated with Correa, who took extra caution to pursue the car safely with their children in tow.

Correa said: ‘I cut off people and I got up close to the car. I had to do what I had to do, being a father.’

‘We would never put our kids in danger,’ Disley added, noting that her husband slowed down and looked both ways before running the red light.

Charlotte Moccia (pictured) says her abductor threatened her with a knife, saying that he would kill her if she screamed for help or tried to escape

Charlotte Moccia (pictured) says her abductor threatened her with a knife, saying that he would kill her if she screamed for help or tried to escape 

During the encounter, Disley said they saw ‘someone getting pushed down under the backseat’ of the suspects car as it passed a street lamp. 

The heroic family was eventually forced to give up the chase after they ran out of gas.

Luckily, the couple had read the suspect’s license plate to a dispatcher and authorities had already leaped into action.  

Charlotte was discovered by authorities in the backseat of 24-year-old Miguel Rodriguez’s vehicle after it was stopped at a construction site along the Massachusetts Turnpike. 

Correa (left): 'I cut off people and I got up close to the car. I had to do what I had to do, being a father'

Correa (left): ‘I cut off people and I got up close to the car. I had to do what I had to do, being a father’ 

Rodriguez was sitting in the driver’s seat where a knife was visible in the pocket of the door. He was apprehended by authorities at gunpoint. 

Charlotte would later tell authorities that Rodriguez threatened her with the knife, saying that he would kill her if she tried to escape or screamed for help. 

She was taken to a local hospital for a precautionary evaluation. 

Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said: ‘It was an absolute life and death situation for this little girl.’

Rodriguez was taken into police custody for several charges, including assault by means of a deadly weapon and aggravated kidnapping. He was denied bail on Thursday. 

The girl was forced into a car by a man who was walking behind her. Miguel Rodriguez (pictured) was arrested and is pictured in Springfield District Court Thursday

The girl was forced into a car by a man who was walking behind her. Miguel Rodriguez (pictured) was arrested and is pictured in Springfield District Court Thursday

Records show an open case from August 24, 2018 against Rodriguez for indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. 

‘We’re eternally grateful to the motorists that paid attention to the Amber Alert and called and reported seeing the vehicle,’ said Lt. Charles Murray.

‘There were a number of those calls and they made this rescue possible,’ he added. 

Charlotte’s parents, Carl and Denise Moccia, released a statement thanking several involved parties. 

‘In particular we’d like to thank Amanda Disley and her husband for their vigilance and courage for putting themselves in harm’s way to make sure she wasn’t out of their sight,’ they wrote.

‘The outpouring of love and support, near and far, is overwhelming. We are eternally grateful.’

The heart-racing moment the couple drove 100mph to keep up with Rodriguez after the abduction was captured on cell phone footage and shared on Facebook. 

Disley is heard on the phone telling a 911 dispatcher ‘they’re trying to lose me’ and ‘he’s blowing through red lights’ as they frantically try not to lose the car containing Charlotte Moccia.   

Amanda Disley and her husband Bobby are heard on the phone with a 911 dispatcher Wednesday

Amanda Disley and her husband Bobby are heard on the phone with a 911 dispatcher Wednesday

Charlotte Moccia, 11, was abducted on Wednesday at 1.26pm shortly after getting off her school bus in Springfield, Massachusetts

Charlotte Moccia, 11, was abducted on Wednesday at 1.26pm shortly after getting off her school bus in Springfield, Massachusetts 

The woman is heard yelling 'they're trying to lose me'

They decided to pursue the blue Honda Civic around 6.21pm and are heard yelling 'he's blowing through red lights' over the phone

Disley is heard yelling ‘they’re trying to lose me’ as they keep up with Miguel Rodriguez, 24. They decided to pursue the blue Honda Civic around 6.21pm and are heard yelling ‘he’s blowing through red lights’ over the phone

‘Sorry for dramaticness but when I saw the person in the back seat being pushed down all we could think about is her and the danger she was in,’ Disley captioned the video of the chase. ‘Wasn’t even sure if it was the right car just the gut feeling my husband and i had by the rims and the funny movements in the car.’ 

In the minute-and-a-half-long clip the woman tells the dispatcher: ‘They’re turning down streets trying to avoid me. They’re trying to lose me, they’re trying to ditch me!’ 

At one point they report the suspect vehicle turning into a liquor store and Correa helpfully gives street names. 

‘There’s a kidnapper!’ they yell. ‘A Puerto Rican dude, it’s him, it’s him!’  

Cops said the man who forced her into the car was either white or Hispanic, and hours later Disley spotted them. Authorities issued an Amber Alert Wednesday evening.

Despite the pursuing vehicle traveling at close to 100 mph, the husband stays determined not to lose sight of the abductor’s car.

‘That’s that f**king car, I know it is!’ Correa yells. 

Springfield Police had earlier identified the car as a 2001 to 2005 model with two doors, dark tinted windows, distinctive after-market rims, a moonroof, and no front plate.

The Springfield girl was apparently abducted shortly after she got off her school bus and was forced into a car around 1.26pm on Wednesday

Police say a man was walking behind her and forced the little girl into the car

The Springfield girl (left and right) was abducted shortly after she got off her school bus and was forced into a car around 1.26pm on Wednesday

Authorities described the suspects and the vehicle in an Amber Alert. State Police stopped that vehicle on the Massachusetts turnpike Wednesday night and found Charlotte inside 'safe and sound'

Authorities described the suspects and the vehicle in an Amber Alert. State Police stopped that vehicle on the Massachusetts turnpike Wednesday night and found Charlotte inside ‘safe and sound’

As the chase continues Disley is clearly feeling the pressure for police to come to the rescue.

The time stamp on her phone shows the video was capture around 6.21pm and the chase occurs in the dark. 

‘He’s blowing through red lights,’ shouts three times, repeatedly.

The video ends with Disley telling the dispatcher that they’re passing Kennedy Middle School.  

State Police said Charlotte was ‘safe and sound’ and does not have any apparent injuries.  

Disley said she 'wasn’t even sure if it was the right car just the gut feeling my husband and I had by the rims and the funny movements in the car'

Disley said she ‘wasn’t even sure if it was the right car just the gut feeling my husband and I had by the rims and the funny movements in the car’

Massachusetts State Police eventually caught the suspects on the Turnpike in Charlton. More than a dozen police officers responded. Pictured is Rodriguez being arraigned in Springfield District Court

Massachusetts State Police eventually caught the suspects on the Turnpike in Charlton. More than a dozen police officers responded. Pictured is Rodriguez being arraigned in Springfield District Court

Records show an open case from August 24, 2018 against Rodriguez for indecent assault and battery on a child under 14

Records show an open case from August 24, 2018 against Rodriguez for indecent assault and battery on a child under 14

After the pursuit, Disley said she’d never seen so many police in her life and praised authorities for their great work. 

She was on the verge of tears in a Facebook Live post after she heard the suspects has been caught.

But has also since come under fire for what she says is a fake GoFundMe page set up by others to profit from her actions. 

Disley also highlighted the work of the dispatcher. 

‘Shout to Jackie the 911 dispatcher she was amazing through my husband and I screaming she calmed us down and handled business she was in point,’ Disley posted on Facebook. ‘She even called us later to let us know the plates we gave caught him. Thank you Jackie.’ 

The dispatcher Jacqueline Gerry posted on Facebook: ‘Wasn’t sure what my purpose was when I came to work today … now I know. Amanda Disley, you and your husband were incredible and from our dispatch family to you … THANK YOU!’  

Cops had earlier said there was a female suspect driving the car but only one person was inside when the child was rescued. They’re investigating whether there ever was a second suspect.

‘The SPD Detective Bureau under the direction of Captain Trent Duda are not looking for any additional suspects in connection with Wednesday’s abduction,’ Ryan Walsh of the Springfield Police said. ‘The one and only suspect, Miguel Rodriguez, is in custody.’

Springfield Police Department pleaded for help from the public in locating the child

Springfield Police Department pleaded for help from the public in locating the child 

Charlotte was last seen walking on Lafayette Street in Springfield before her rescue

Charlotte was last seen walking on Lafayette Street in Springfield before her rescue

She was returning home from school at Hampden Charter School of Science when she was forced into the car near the corner of Princeton and Amherst streets in Springfield, Massachusetts (above)

She was returning home from school at Hampden Charter School of Science when she was forced into the car near the corner of Princeton and Amherst streets in Springfield, Massachusetts (above)

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