HIALEAH, Fla. (WSVN) — A 10-year-old girl is speaking out after the car she was in was stolen from a parking lot in Hialeah, Thursday.
It all started at around 6:30 a.m., when police received a call of a stolen, green Ford Expedition with a 10-year-old girl asleep in the backseat.
According to officials, the parents of Penelope Gomez had stopped for a few minutes at his auto shop, located on the 2800 block of West Okeechobee Road. Surveillance footage clearly shows the woman walking up to the SUV and taking off with the sleeping girl inside.
Penelope’s parents said they had stepped out of the car for a brief moment. However, that moment was all it took for the suspect to jump right in their place and drive off.
The girl’s father then made a frantic 911 call. "They took the car with the girl!" he said in Spanish.
Penelope told 7News she woke up to a find a stranger driving her parent’s car. "I woke up and then they told me, a girl told me, that I’m going to somewhere. It was horrible," she said. "I was freaked out."
Shortly after, police found the SUV with the girl safe inside, a few miles down, at Hialeah Gardens Elementary School. They said the ordeal lasted about 40 minutes.
The SUV was picked up by the father of the young girl. He said he was relieved to be reunited his daughter. "Imagine, what goes through your mind is one or two things, rape or death," said her father in Spanish, breathing a sigh of relief.
Police said they have a suspect in custody. She has been identified as Lisette Dopico.
Police said Dopico has been known to hang out around the auto shop begging for money. Her mother told 7News that she got a frantic call from her daughter saying that she was on drugs and stole a car with a young child inside.
7News cameras captured Penelope reuniting with her family. The girl said she won’t soon forget her ordeal. "I got scared and everything," she said.
Investigators remained at the elementary school where the Expedition was found, combing for clues.
Police said Dopico has a criminal history. She is only being charged with theft because investigators cannot prove she meant to abduct the child.