Police in Texas rescued a 12-year-old girl who they say was abducted from her family’s home and taken 350 miles away by a suspected predator she met on Instagram and taken 350 miles away.
Del Rio Police Chief Frank Ramirez credited license plate reader technology with helping his officers track down the accused kidnapper, 24-year-old Christopher Quintanilla.
“If it wasn’t for this technology, we would not have had a clue what direction he went in, where he was going, or where he came from,” Ramirez told ABC 13.
According to a press release from the police, around 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 5, cops were called to a home in the 100 block of Currency Drive in Del Rio, where parents reported that their daughter had been taken by an unknown man.
Surveillance video from the area captured the 12-year-old getting into the suspect’s car, which then drove away.
Police told the news outlet they believe Quintanilla met the girl on Instagram and possibly groomed her into trusting him.
“He knew exactly what he was doing,” the city’s top cop said. “We know what his intentions were.”
Through a thorough search of the police department’s license plate reader system, Quintanilla’s car was detected entering Del Rio shortly after 5 p.m. that day and leaving eastbound on US Highway 90 East after the abduction more than an hour later.
The license plate reader technology was then used to find the suspect’s address in the Houston suburb of Stafford, more than 350 miles east of the site of the kidnapping.
Stafford police were notified and arrested Quintanilla outside his home early the next morning. The 12-year-old girl was found with him.
She was described as being in good health and unharmed at the end of the seven-hour ordeal. She has since been reunited with her family.
Quintanilla was charged with unlawful restrain of a minor. His bond was set at $200,000.