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Kidnapped Teen's "Help Me!" Sign Led to Rescue

A teenage girl saved herself from her kidnapper with the help of a red pen. 

One quick-thinking teenager saved herself from a kidnapper with the help of a red pen and a crumpled piece of paper. According to a miraculous new report, a 13-year-old girl, who had been kidnapped earlier this month, made a sign with the plea: "Help Me!" and orchestrated her own rescue, after being abducted for a total of three days. Here is what you need to know about the shocking story. 

A Girl, 13, Was Abducted After Leaving Her Home


The 13-year-old girl was abducted on July 6 after leaving her home. She didn't tell her parents where she was going, according to court records. However, she was planning to visit a classmate who moved to Australia the previous year. 

She Was Walking to a Bus Station When Steven Robert Sablan Told Her to Get in His Car, Court Records Say


While walking to a San Antonio bus station Steven Robert Sablan, 61, who was driving a silver Nissan, stopped her, according to court records. He held up a gun and told her to get in the car. "If you don't get in the car with me, I am going to hurt you," he said to the girl, according to investigators.

He Told Her "She Would Need to Do Something for Him"


Sablan asked the girl her age after she got in the car. She told him about Australia and he told her he could take her to a cruise ship so that she could visit her friend but said "she would need to do something for him if he was going to do something for her," says the complaint. 

He Sexually Assaulted Her Multiple Times


He then sexually assaulted her and did so at least twice more as they drove from Texas to California, according to the complaint. The girl's mother reported her missing on July 7.

Three Days Later He Stopped at a Laundromat


On July 9, Sablan stopped his car at the laundromat in Long Beach and told the girl to change in the car, prosecutors said. When he walked inside, laundromat employees said he looked suspicious. According to Touch Vong he had a "scared" look in his eye. She tried to stall him, lying to him and telling him that a nearby restaurant didn't open until 11 a.m. on Sundays and that he should wait inside. "I feel like God told me to stop him," Vong told KABC.

The Girl Held Up the Paper and Authorities Arrived on the Scene

US Department of Justice

The girl held up the paper and caught the attention of someone who called the authorities. Around 10:20 a.m., Long Beach Police Department officers were dispatched to the site. The girl mouthed the word "help" while Sablan stood next to the car. 

They Found a BB Gun, Switchblade, and Handcuffs

US Department of Justice

According to the girl, Sablan had a gun underneath the driver's seat. They searched the car and found a BB gun, a switchblade, and handcuffs. They also ran an inquiry on the car and found an active warrant for Sablan in connection to a burglary in Texas

He Was Indicted and Faces Multiple Charges


Sablan was indicted Thursday in California and charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. He will be arraigned on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of both charges.


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