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Mother Expresses Thanks for Safe Release of Kidnapped Girl

March 11, 2000|From Associated Press

TRENTON, Fla. — The mother of a 10-year-old girl who was snatched from her driveway and held for three days thanked the child's captor Friday for releasing her alive.

Investigators said they are focusing their search for the kidnapper in the area around where Jessica Rodriguez lives, based on information from the girl. They said the girl was held in a single-family home all three days.

Jessica was abducted Monday by a man after she got off her school bus outside her rural home in Trenton. On Thursday, she walked into a Wal-Mart 25 miles from home and asked for help. Investigators said they believe her captor dropped her off.

"I want to tell the man who had Jessica, thank you very much for dropping her off safely," said her mother, Jennifer Graham, mixing laughter and tears. "And she's doing great. She's playing. She's so happy. She's wonderful."

Jessica told investigators that she had never seen her abductor before, authorities said.

The suspect was described as a thin-faced balding man in his 30s, with a tattoo of a heart with a broken arrow on his left forearm. Police believe he is still driving the green Jeep Cherokee that Jessica's sisters described seeing on the day of the abduction.

After the girl vanished, her family made public pleas for her return.

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