HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Cecilia Ruiz is the brave mother who noticed a teenage girl being forced into a pickup truck by a man while she was on her way to school last month. It was an act that potentially saved the young girl's life, and put that man behind bars.
Ruiz shared her story about springing into action when she saw the young girl being attacked. She said she was on her way to drop her own daughter off at school the morning of March 29, 2018, when she saw the incident. Ruiz and her daughter took the young girl in their car and then pursued the man in order to get his license plates. It turned into a high speed chase in the Northside neighborhood, until the man's truck fell into a ditch. That's when Ruiz and some neighbors waited until police arrived.
She tells FOX 26 that she had no fear and would do it all over again because, "At that moment I know who put me there, and and I was put there for a reason, a good reason."
Because of her actions, 34-year-old Daniel Zapata was arrested and charged with attempted aggravated kidnapping.
She was honored this evening by Safe Walk Home Northside, a program that trains community members, and ensures students have safe passage as they walk to and from school. The organization was created following the death of 11-year-old Josue Flores, the boy from the Northside who was killed while walking home from school.
Ruiz also received recognition by city and state officials.
The Northside community says they hope to avoid similar incidents like Josue Flores, whose killer is still at large. They say they can do so by training more people like Cecilia Ruiz in the Safe Walk Home program.
You can get more details about the program by contacting email@example.com