In mid-April, two-year-old Jacob Vargas' father forgot to lock the front door of his home. He briefly left Jacob in the car alone while he remedied the issue, but when he returned he saw nothing.
Panic Sets In
Jacob's dad immediately began to panic, not because his vehicle was gone, but Jacob was gone, too. When an onlooking carjacker saw an opportunity to take an unmanned vehicle, he took it. However, the situation became much more complicated when he found a boy in the back seat. Jacob's dad called the cops immediately, and many from their community of Soledad, California took to the streets to search for little Jacob.
As the Amber Alert went out in search for Jacob, local farmer John Given was on his way back to his office. In a strange twist of fate, John decided reroute his ride to one of his ranches, heading down a desolate road he hadn't driven for several months, when he spotted an unmanned vehicle looking suspicious under a dilapidated awning.
As John saw the abandoned vehicle, he realized it matched the description of an Amber Alert. He approached the car, and inside he found Jacob with the car off, locked and all of the windows rolled up. Realizing this was a life-threatening emergency in sunny California, he called the cops, who arrived on the scene soon after.
John isn't sure why he took a detour that day, but some are calling it divine intervention, as Soledad Chief of Police, Eric Sills, told KSBW Action News.
"There was a reason he chose to drive that way and go down that road that day. Clearly [it was] some help from above."
Another nearby farmer took on the other half of the job-tracking down the carjacker that caused this whole ordeal.
Crime And Punishment
The alleged carjacker, 27-year-old Carmen Maldonado, was charged with several felonies in connection with the crime, including kidnapping. With the suspected perp in custody, Jacob's family was able to rest easy knowing their baby was safe. Completely overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude, Jacob's family met with the ranchers who helped find their boy and bring the suspected carjacker to justice.
KSBW Action News caught footage of the happy meeting.
A Happy Ending
Jacob's story might be every parent's worst nightmare, but it proves that happy endings can happen, even in the bleakest scenarios. The combined forces between law enforcement, citizens and perhaps the divine ensured Jacob's return to normalcy.