Suspect in kidnapping of 11-year-old Springfield girl held without bail

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A Springfield man suspected of abducting an 11-year-old girl as she walked home from school, prompting an Amber Alet, was held without bail Thursday pending a hearing to determine whether he is a danger to society, and was ordered by a judge to undergo a 15-day mental competency evaluation.

Not guilty pleas to charges including kidnapping were entered on behalf of Miguel Rodriguez, 24, of Springfield, at his arraignment in Springfield District Court.

His attorney objected to the court-ordered evaluation and instead sought funds for a private evaluation, but was overruled. The dangerousness hearing was scheduled for Wednesday. If he is deemed dangerous, Rodriguez can be held for four months without bail.

The girl was recovered by troopers on the Turnpike in Sturbridge after a motorist reported seeing the car she was abducted in, state police spokesman David Procopio said. Rodriguez, allegedly forced the girl into a blue car around 1:30 p.m. after she got off the school bus, near Amherst and Princeton streets in Springfield. Police said the girl appeared unharmed when she was rescued from the car Rodriguez was driving, nearly 6 hours after she was abducted.

Around 7:15 p.m., multiple callers reported seeing the car traveling eastbound on the Mass. Pike. Troopers working a detail nearby pulled over the car and found the girl in the backseat and Rodgriguez driving, Lt. Charles Murray said. A knife was also seen in the door pocket of the car, he said.

She was evaluated by EMS at the scene and “did not appear to have any injuries,” but was sent to a local hospital for further evaluation.

Julius Kenney, a neighbor who witnessed the alleged abduction hours earlier, recalled what he saw when she was taken: “I came out and I heard the kid hollering for help. By the time I got down to get the plate number, all I saw was an individual bent over, throwing her in the back, shut the door and the car took off. I was trying to get the plate number but I couldn’t get it, they took off that fast. The windows were tinted so you couldn’t see who was who.”

State police thanked the public for paying attention to the Amber Alert and calling 911 when they spotted the car. “They made this rescue possible,” Lt. Murray said.

“My husband and I would like to thank our neighbors; the State, Chicopee and Springfield police (especially Detectives John Lopez and Angel Marrero, Captain Trent Duda, Mayor Sarno, Commissioner Clapprood; all local and national news outlets, family, friends, our Hampden Charter and St. Michael’s school communities, the doctor, nurse and social worker who assisted Charlotte in the ER; and strangers near and far who, via social media, got the word out to help bring Charlotte home. In particular, we’d like to thank Amanda Disley and her husband for their vigilance and courage for putting themselves in harm’s way to make sure she wasn’t out of their sight. The outpouring of love and support, near and far, is overwhelming. We are eternally grateful.”

—  -Carl & Denise Moccia.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

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