SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A homeless woman suspected of trying to kidnap a 12-year-old girl in Santa Ana was in custody Wednesday thanks to a Good Samaritan, according to police.

Claudia Hernandez Diaz, 34, allegedly attempted to abduct the girl about 7:45 a.m. on Main Street at McFadden Avenue, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

Around that same time, a mom who had just dropped off her child at a nearby high school was driving home when she saw the abduction attempt, according to Bertagna.

“She doesn’t know if it’s a mother having an issue with her daughter, but something doesn’t look right because the suspect is homeless and her hair’s messy,” he said. “So she makes a turn, comes around and asked the young victim, `Are you okay?’ and the victim looked at her and shook her head no, and she could see the fright in her eyes.”

According to Bertagna, the woman’s “motherly instincts kicked in and she told the suspect, `That’s my child, give her back to me.'”

Police say Claudia Diaz is believed to be homeless. (Courtesy photo)

“It took three times of her saying that and the woman let her go,” he added.

The girl’s rescuer took her to school and police and her family were notified. After officers “saturated” the area, Diaz – who is believed to be homeless – was tracked down and arrested.

A motive has yet to be established.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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