Authorities had just arrived at the scene of a Houston kidnapping attempt Saturday morning when another 911 call came in: The same would-be kidnapper had grabbed a second woman “a short distance” away, deputies said.
The second victim, Luz Baena, 55, told KPRC that the kidnapper forced her off the bicycle she was riding.
"He threw the bicycle," Baena told the TV station. "I said, 'What do you want? You can have the bicycle,' and he said, 'No, I want you.'"
After Baena had been forced into the kidnapper’s car, she said the man drove about two blocks with her. That’s when Baena decided to escape: “I’m thinking he’s going to kill me. No, no, no. I need to do something. I don’t want to die now,” she told KPRC.
Baena leaped out of the accelerating car as it neared a group of people, she told the TV station. Baena broke bones in her face, got a black eye and bruised her arms and legs in the incident, but escaped the attempted kidnapper.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is now looking for the public’s help hunting down the suspect who tried to abduct the two women on Saturday around 11 a.m. Authorities described the suspect as a clean shaven, between 19 and 25, who was 5’8 or 5’9. He was driving a gray or silver Toyota sedan with tinted windows and a damaged right side.
The man struck his first victim at 10:45 a.m. Saturday as the woman was walking along a road in north Houston, the sheriff’s office said. He rolled up next to the woman and got out of his car — and then tried to force her into the vehicle, she told authorities. But the woman was able to fight back, push him away and flee on foot.
Witnesses told KPRC that they saw the first attempted abduction as it unfolded.
"We were going to the store when we saw a young lady run out in front of a garbage truck," Larry Whitfield told KPRC. "She was screaming and hollering, 'Help me! help me! help me!'"
And as authorities were investigating the first attempted abduction, the second call came in, the sheriff’s office said.
Neighbors at a garage sale witnessed the second abduction attempt as well, KTRK reports — and they helped the victim after the suspect dragged her through the road for about 100 yards, before finally releasing her and driving off.
"She fought and he drug her as he was driving," one neighbor, who called 911, told KTRK. “They ended up here in front of my house and neighbor's house. When he finally let her go and threw her out, my neighbor said she heard her head hit the ground really hard.”
Medical responders treated both victims for non-life threatening injuries.
Saturday night, the sheriff’s department released surveillance video that had been captured of the Toyota, hoping it can help identify a suspect in the case.
Baena, a grandmother, also shared her story with KTRK and offered a warning for others.
"If it happened to me, it can happen to other people," Baena told the TV station. "I know I'm going to have trauma for a long time."