When a young girl realized that she and her baby brother were in danger, she knew she had to do something. Pushing fear aside and worried for her little sibling’s life, she sprang into action, proving with her selfless act that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
Karen Quinn was a mom of five kids and lived in Las Vegas. On Monday, October 24, 2022, she was driving with two of her children when she decided to stop at a 7-Eleven store on Cheyenne and Decatur near the North Las Vegas Airport.
She said she needed to use the ATM, so she parked her Dodge SUV right outside the store’s front door. Karen added that she left her children inside the vehicle with the engine running and the doors locked, after which she entered the convenience store.
A Startling Incident
The Nevada resident said she then made eye contact with a suspicious man sitting at a slot machine near the store’s front door. Describing him as a “bad in spirit” guy, Karen noted that she watched as he stood from his seat and walked over to her car.
She said she had no idea where she was, but the only thing that mattered was her baby brother’s safety.
At that instance, the mother said she followed the stranger to her SUV, whom she caught peering inside. But before she could do something, the unthinkable happened. One of the 7-Eleven employees on duty at that time said they heard the mom shouting for her children.
Chasing the Bad Guy
Karen recalled that she tried to stop the man, but her efforts were in vain. She said she watched the stranger speed away with her kids inside. The mom-of-five noted that she even told the alleged kidnapper to take the car and let her children go, but he didn’t listen.
In utter desperation, the distraught mom said she ran miles to pursue the car on foot. She told Fox 5 Vegas:
“I chased after the car until I couldn’t anymore.”
Fearing for the Worst
Meanwhile, her nine-year-old daughter, Nyla, who was inside the car with her 11-month-old brother, King, feared for the worst. Nyla recounted the harrowing details of the Monday night incident in these words:
“When she comes next to her car, it unlocks. So her car unlocked and then he got in the car and he zoomed. And I didn’t want to put my hands on him because he was driving fast and I didn’t want to die, so… and then he turned and he went the other way (sic).”
Nyla said she wasn’t sure where the man was taking her and her brother, but he was driving fast. The youngster recalled that she closed her eyes and started thinking about her response. Soon afterward, she reached for the unlock button in the vehicle.
But despite her best efforts, Nyla said the man pushed her hand away. The entire time, the young girl said she kept screaming for help, begging the stranger to let her and her brother go.
To her relief, she said the kidnapper stopped the car somewhere and told her to get out. Nyla revealed:
“The only thing I was worried about was my little brother. And so I tried to grab my shoes, and he didn’t let me. He was like, ‘Here, get out.’ So I grabbed his binky and me and him ran (sic).”
The quick-thinking girl grabbed baby King and ran as fast as her legs allowed. She said she had no idea where she was, but the only thing that mattered was her baby brother’s safety. Nyla recollected:
“I just started running with [King], ’cause I’m not gonna leave him in the car…. I always watch him every day (sic).”
While running frantically with her brother in her arms, Nyla said she stepped on a rock and badly hurt her foot. “And I stopped because it was a rock right there, and my foot went like that. It was hurting (sic),” added Nyla.
Together at Last
Eventually, Nyla heaved a sigh of relief when she saw some lights and 7-Eleven’s signboard. Then, a few police officers who arrived on the scene helped unite Karen with her two children. The anxious mom thanked the cops for safely locating her kids.
According to the local police, the suspected carjacker and kidnapper was identified as 38-year-old Mario Estrada. He was said to have totaled Karen’s car after crashing into another vehicle on I-15. The cops apprehended Estrada while he tried to flee on foot.
Supporting the Family
Karen’s grandma, Irene Quinn, created a GoFundMe account to support the family. Irene said her granddaughter suffered injuries while running behind the suspected abductor on foot. As of October 28, over $2,000 have been raised through the fundraising page.
Irene further stated that the family needed a new vehicle after their SUV was damaged in the incident. She expressed:
“My grand daughter has a kidney disease, FSGS Nephrotic Syndrome and after running in fear, she is now having pain and nightmares telling her mother she did not want her or her brother to die (sic).”
The Online Reaction
Many netizens left comments for the mother-of-five and her brave daughter when the story was shared on social media:
“You are a perfect little girl, your bravery is more than most adults!! Your a true hero little one and someone for everyone to look up to (sic)!!”
— (@jennifer.graffice) October 27, 2022
“Some of you guys need to listen before you start judging someone. The little girl just say the car unlocked when the mom came next to her car asking the guy what is he doing next to her car (sic).”
— (@linda0923) October 27, 2022
“Amazing little girl! God bless them and keep them safe!”
— (@lorena.llamas.963) October 27, 2022
Undoubtedly, young Nyla displayed the perfect example of heroism and courage. Her baby brother is lucky to have a protective and loving big sister like her. If you liked reading this story, please take a moment to share your feedback with us on Facebook.