Quick Thinking Saved Calif. Girl


Monday, August 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — After spending two nights shackled to the front seat of a kidnapper's car, 8-year-old Midsi Sanchez finally saw her chance to make a dash for freedom and took it — a move that police say may have saved her life.

The brave effort got Sanchez out of harm's way and home to Vallejo on Saturday, just in time for her birthday party where the welcome home celebration spilled into the streets.

``Happy Birthday dear Midsi, happy birthday to you,'' sang the swelling crowd of well-wishers on her front lawn. Midsi looked on from an upstairs window with tears streaming past her smile, safely in the arms of her father Juan Carlos Sanchez.

``She is a hero; she got away. She outsmarted him,'' said Midsi's mother Susana Velasco.

Midsi tried to pick the lock of her leg shackles Friday with a nail file, but the tip broke off so she abandoned that plan. She spent Thursday and Friday night sleeping on the front seat of her abductor's car.

Saturday morning, with her abductor outside the car, Midsi seized the opportunity to rummage through a ring of keys until she found one that set her free.

She darted from the car, flagged a truck driver, hopped up the steps of his cab and dove through the window onto his lap. By Saturday evening Midsi was home and a suspect who has served time in prison for a previous kidnap conviction, Curtis Dean Anderson, 39, was behind bars.

``She had the will to survive and she had the will to escape and she never gave up,'' said Santa Clara Police Department spokesman Anton Morec said. ``She said she thought he was going to kill her.''

News of Midsi's daring escape was tempered by the knowledge that another Vallejo girl, 8-year-old Xiana Fairchild, is still missing. Xiana disappeared Dec. 9 while walking to catch a bus to school. Vallejo police have not found a connection between the two cases.

Anderson was released from San Quentin State Prison in November, one month before Xiana was reported missing.

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On the Net:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: http://www.ncmec.org