Good Samaritan helps kidnapped family in Celebration

The suspect is 23-year-old Ryan Rodriguez. He's being held in the Osceola County Jail with no bond. Deputies say he kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and her two children at knifepoint, but strangers came to their rescue.

It was a rare crime scene in the center of Celebration. Cops say a man held his ex-girlfriend and her two children against their will and he tried to force her to take cash from an ATM.     

Eyewitness Jeff Pellegrin set the scene for us.

"The car was parked right about here, and there was a man standing next to the car, and there was a woman standing over here with two small children," Pellegrin said. "She was pleading with folks to call 911."

Pellegrin called 911 and let the woman use his cellphone to stay on the line with a dispatcher until deputies rushed to the scene.

He said, "She was crying out pretty loudly, and she was holding her children really close to her."

Ryan Rodriguez, 23, is charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault and grand theft auto.  

Deputies say Rodriguez  stormed into the woman's Kissimmee home, held her inside her bedroom at knifepoint and punched her in the face.  

Investigators say he forced his ex-girlfriend and kids into her car and made her drive to a bank in Celebration. When they arrived, she started screaming.
 
Twis Lizasuain is with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. 

"She did the right thing when she was at the bank," Lizasuain said. "She tried to gain the attention of individuals who were in the area, and fortunately for her, some of the individuals came to her assistance."

Pellegrin is happy he was in the right place at the right time to make a difference.
 
He adds, "She seemed to be very frightened. The children were a little bit confused."

The Sheriff's Office says the woman and her two children were really shaken up, but not badly hurt. Rodriguez was arrested at an Orange County motel a few hours after the kidnapping.

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