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Most parents will say that having their child taken away is their worst dread if you ask them.

It isn’t easy to conceive what one would do in this situation, but one parent, sadly, discovered precisely what it’s like. Living directly across from Regional Park in Auburn, Freddie Cantrell frequently takes his kids there. When the weather permits, he, his ex-wife, and their kids like visiting there.


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Cantrell received a call one evening in 2018 that no parent ever wants to get. When she and her new husband were babysitting their children at that park, his ex-wife called him on his mobile.

“My ex-wife called me and said I needed to get down there right away. Someone had recently attempted to kidnap our daughter, Aubrey, she stated, Cantrell recalled.


Natalie, Aubrey’s 6-year-old sister, stood close to her when everything occurred.

“Some random man showed up and started dragging her. Natalie, a young woman, told CBS Sacramento that the man tried to run over and grab her.



Cantrell, who had hurried to the park next to his house right away, sprinted to help his daughter. Cantrell arrived just in time to divert the would-be kidnapper in the opposite direction while his ex-wife and her husband continued to chase after the near kidnapper.

He attempted to use the shackles tied around his fingers to restrain me. He intended to punch me with them while making them appear as brass knuckles. I had no choice except to take action right away and knock him down,” Cantrell said.


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Yonel Hernandez-Velasco, age 26, was later recognized as the perpetrator. Shortly after the man was knocked unconscious, deputies arrived on the scene and arrested him for attempted kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon.

Observer of the crime and neighbor April McGuinness said, “We watch the news every day, so we are aware of the awful things occurring to other people. We merely pray that our children won’t ever experience something similar.


“I can’t even begin to picture what would happen if the tables were turned, and I was the victim,” her 11-year-old son said, standing next to her. I typically come here alone.

Residents have expressed their delight that the offender was quickly apprehended and their admiration for Cantrell’s arrest of the offender.


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I’ve been praised and told, “Oh, you’re such a hero, you saved the girl,” by a lot of people, and I don’t know how else to answer than to tell them, “That little girl is my daughter, and I must defend her at whatever cost,” Cantrell said.

His story spread when his ex-wife decided to post the events on Facebook. Her post gained thousands of shares and hundreds of comments after becoming viral. Commenters expressed concern over such threats to youngsters while praising Cantrell for his bravery and quick reaction.

If Hernandez-Velasco was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at the time of the occurrence is unknown.

He underwent testing to establish and validate his identification and was lodged in Auburn Jail on both counts. His $1.2 million bail was decided upon.


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Contrell and his ex-wife deserve praise for their courage in a situation that would make any parent shudder.

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