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Kidnapped Girl, 9, Found After 2 Days

June 9, 2003

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Two days after an intruder brazenly kidnapped her from her home, a 9-year-old girl walked into a convenience store less than 30 miles away ``crying and scared,″ according to police and the owner of the store.

Jennette Tamayo had been dropped off in the East Palo Alto area late Sunday night, a San Jose police spokeswoman said. Details of her condition were not available.

Police said the suspect, who was a stranger to the family, had staked out the girl’s house Friday and waited for her to come home from school. Before he sped away, her mother and teenage brother arrived home, and were beaten when they encountered the suspect.

Much of the ordeal was caught by a neighbor’s video surveillance camera. Released before Jennette’s discovery Sunday, the tape contains several brutal images and sounds.

No arrests have been made.

In Jennette’s neighborhood, residents poured into the streets Sunday night to hug and celebrate as the news of her discovery spread.

``It was just like a Hollywood script,″ said neighbor Karen Kamfolt. ``People came from all directions out of their houses.″

``It’s a wonderful ending to a horrible nightmare,″ said Kamfolt, whose surveillance cameras recorded the kidnapping as it unfolded Friday afternoon.

About 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Jennette walked into the Eastside Market, said Isa Yasin, the owner of the shop. Yasin said he did not see anyone drop off the girl and could not tell if she had been harmed.

``She was crying and scared,″ Yasin said.

After talking briefly with the girl, Yasin realized her identity and called police.

About two hours after Jennette was found, she walked with authorities out of the East Palo Alto police station and into a waiting car, where she smiled at television cameras. It was not clear where she was taken or whether she had been reunited with her family.

The neighbor’s surveillance videotape showed a man pulling up in front of Tamayo’s home Friday afternoon and going inside. Police aren’t sure how he was able to enter, but they believe he may have used a broken rear window.

After approximately 25 minutes inside, the suspect is seen returning to wait in the car. Around him, neighbors carry out their daily activities, like playing basketball and bringing children home from school.

At one point another car drives past, then backs up and lingers next to the suspect’s car. Police said they were looking for the driver of that car but have no information on who it might be.

At approximately 4:20 p.m., Jennette is seen crossing the street and entering the house alone; neighbors said that’s about the time she was usually dropped off by the school bus. The man gets out of the car about 90 seconds later and follows her into the house.

After another 25 minutes inside, the suspect comes back outside, backs his car into the garage and closes the door.

Around this time, Jennette’s mother, aunt and 15-year-old brother drive up. The aunt is seen getting out and driving away in a separate car, while the boy, whose neigbors say is named Pablo, tries to open the garage door. He manages to pry the bottom part of the door open and crawl underneath, at which point, police say, he is attacked and choked.

While the attack isn’t visible on the surveillance tape, sounds of the altercation can be heard and Rosalie Tamayo is seen running inside the house to help her son. Police said the suspect confronted her between the kitchen and garage, and beat her with pans and a ladder.

By now the boy has broken free, and is seen on the tape running outside for help. His mother comes out moments later, beaten and bloodied but screaming for help as well. The suspect then pulls out of the driveway in his car with Jennette inside and speeds across the lawn, crushing rose bushes along the way.

Rosalie Tamayo and her son were both treated at a local hospital and released.

San Jose Police spokesman Steve Dixon said that while the images on the black-and-white tape are not always clear, the tape shows the attack was not a random residential burglary.

``The tape makes it very clear the he was targeting this house,″ Dixon said. ``He wasn’t roaming the neighborhood looking for houses to break into. He was there for quite some time, just waiting for this little girl to come home.″

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