The girl, identified by CNN affiliate WPLG as Lyric, was playing with her siblings in the courtyard area of her Miami apartment complex residence when a man attempted to abduct her, according to a news release from Miami police.
While playing, the children noticed a white SUV park near the building, the arrest report stated. The six-year-old’s siblings went inside but she sat on the rear stairway of the apartment. A short time later, the suspected kidnapper, identified as 32-year-old Leonardo Venegas afterwards, grabbed her by the arm and a struggle ensued, according to an arrest report for Venegas.
The suspect picked her up and attempted to carry her away. At that point, the six-year-old sank her teeth into Venegas, causing him to drop her.
“I bit him,” the child told WPLG in an on-camera interview.
Police tracked down the suspect using surveillance footage and arrested Venegas two days later. He was placed into police custody on Saturday. He was charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of child abuse/no great bodily harm.
After Venegas had escaped, Lyric ran around to the front of the building to tell her aunt what had happened.
Lyric’s mother, Tisha McGill, said she was glad to see her daughter safe.
“You have to teach your kids not to speak to strangers and protect themselves even when you’re not around,” McGill told WPLG.
“We’re hoping that anybody in the community that may have been a victim to being assaulted by this particular suspect comes forward and reports it to the police so they can continue their investigation,” Officer Kiara Delva, a spokesperson with the Miami Police, told WPLG.
Delva said the child did the right thing.
“She fought for her safety, which ultimately saved her from a potentially very dangerous situation,” Delva told WPLG. “We’re thankful that she did enough to save her life.”
Venegas is being held without bond and is under an immigration hold as well at Miami-Dade County’s Metro West Detention Center, according to online jail records.
He appeared in court on Monday and pleaded not guilty, according to court records. Venegas is represented by lawyers with the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office, who told CNN Wednesday that they could not comment on his case.