Alex Salas received honors from the 104th Precinct on Tuesday night for his bravery in intercepting an attempted kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl in Ridgewood on Dec. 15, 2018, while she was walking to school early in the morning.
Salas told the harrowing story at the 104th Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday in Maspeth of how he leapt to action with a baseball bat in hand as he heard the young girl crying for help as Relyn Estrada, 40, a registered sex offender, dragged her into his car on Centre Street near Seneca Avenue.
According to Salas, the incident began around 7 a.m. as he lay in bed with his wife and could hear faint scream out the window and went to see what was causing the din.
“[Estrada] literally had the girl sideways sticking her in the car and she’s fighting the door,” Salas said. “I opened the window and told him, ‘Get the eff off of her.’ He turned around and told me, ‘Mind your business. What are you, a superhero?'”
Salas broke down into tears when he recalled asking the girl if she knew Estrada and she said no and asked for help. The Ridgewood resident grabbed a bat he usually uses to play softball and ran downstairs to confront the stranger.
As Salas got to the street, barefoot and shirtless, he said he encountered Estrada who wielded his own bat, but after a brief exchange the would-be abductor began moving away from the car and behaving as though he was getting ready to club the girl.
As Estrada was taking swings with the bat at Salas, the good Samaritan noticed the victim taking photos of Estrada with her phone. But Salas believed the girl knew Estrada, who began pulling the books out of back and chastising her for going to school on a Saturday.
Estrada still had the girl in his hand when the police arrived and arrested Estrada.
Detective Anthony Wright and Officer Louis Marinacci both received Cop of the Month awards for making the arrest.
Estrada was charged with second-degree kidnapping, criminal possession of a firearm among other charges, and was scheduled to return to court March 30 after several appearances which came to a closure after he was remanded each time with a psychiatric evaluation ordered on Feb. 11.
“If wasn’t for Mr. Salas’ heroics and cooperation with the police, we might have had a different outcome and because of what he did – and I assure you it’s what he did – and the police’s response and the prosecution of the events that followed, we would not be standing here today celebrating this success,” said Deputy Inspector John Mastronardi, the precinct’s commanding officer.
On Dec. 18, QNS reported that Estrada’s arraignment was postponed while he was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment.