This Family Was Heading Home When They Ended Up Helping Catch a Kidnapper

A couple and three of their kids were heading home from a restaurant when their night took a turn.

Amanda Disley, Benny Correa, and their son standing in front of their repaired vehicleCourtesy Balise Motor Sales
Amanda Disley and Benny Correa’s car suffered serious damage in the chase. A local repair shop offered to do the work for free.

It was dark outside, just after the dinner hour, when Benny Correa and Amanda Disley and three of their five kids climbed into their black Cadillac Escalade. As they prepared to exit the parking lot of the restaurant where they’d just eaten, a dark blue Honda Civic with heavily tinted windows crossed their path.

“Yo, babe,” Correa hollered, “that’s that car. That’s that car!”

Earlier in the day, Disley had mentioned an Amber Alert issued for a missing 11-year-old girl in Brimfield, Massachusetts, less than 30 miles from the family’s home in Springfield. The car that passed them was the same make and model as the one that had been used in her abduction.

Correa took a hard right out of the parking lot and tailed the Honda in an effort to view the license plate. The driver immediately sped up and blew through a stop sign. Correa shocked his family by following suit. He wasn’t about to lose the Honda. “Being a father, I had to do what I had to do,” he told ABC News. Here are a few more times when dads were real-life heroes.

The Honda pulled around the back of a liquor store. “They’re trying to ditch me,” Correa yelled. When the Honda came around to the front, Correa caught up and pulled ahead, trying to cut it off. The Honda hit the brakes and then jumped a curb. The Cadillac’s high beams flashed on the driver—a young man with black hair, pulling a hooded sweatshirt up over his face. They could see him forcing a girl’s head down in the back, as if trying to hide her.

Disley, who by then had called 911, was frantically relaying their situation to the dispatcher. “It’s him!” she yelled into the phone. “The kidnapper!”

Confused, the dispatcher asked, “The blue Honda?”

“Yes, it’s him!”

Correa stayed close behind the Honda, cutting off cars to do so. They were now barreling down the road at 100 mph. “He’s going through red lights!” Disley yelled to the police.

Correa slammed on the brakes to avoid an oncoming car and then hit the gas to catch up. “Get him, Dad!” his son shouted excitedly from the back.

Keeping on the Honda’s tail, Correa discovered another problem: The low-gas light was blinking on the Cadillac’s dashboard. In fact, it had been blinking for much of the 15-minute chase, and the beat-up Caddy—they’d find out later that the suspension had been damaged during the chase—was running on fumes. The car soon sputtered to a halt. The Honda disappeared onto the Massachusetts Turnpike. But thanks to Disley’s chatter and directions, the cops had plotted the path the kidnapper was taking and set up a roadblock on the turnpike, trapping the car soon after.

The driver was 24-year-old Miguel Rodriguez. He’d pulled a knife on Charlotte Moccia as she walked home from school and forced her into his car. If she screamed, he’d warned, he would kill her. Moccia was found huddled in the back seat, terrified but unharmed, which might not have been the case had it not been for Correa and Disley.

“It felt like we won the lottery,” Disley says. “The feeling of knowing she’s safe and back with her family because of us is just unexplainable.” Next, read this other inspiring story about a foiled kidnapping.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest