A 10-year-old girl is safe and police have a suspect in custody after a car was stolen early Thursday morning with the girl inside sleeping in Hialeah.
The girl's father is a mechanic, and said he was working on the car Thursday just around 6:30 a.m. in the 2800 block of West Okeechobee Road. He said the girl was inside the car sleeping while waiting for the bus.
Someone then took the vehicle with the sleeping girl inside.
"I woke up in the car and a woman was driving to a different place. I was scared," the victim said. "I thought I was never going to see my parents again."
"In those moments, you think so many things that your mind goes blank. I couldn't even call 911," the victim's father said, who witnessed the carjacking.
A woman told police her daughter, 33-year-old Lissette Dopico, called her around 7 a.m. and said she stole a car with a girl inside. Dopico also said she had to leave before the cops arrived and later threatened a man to take her back to where she stole the SUV.
"That's messed up. I got really nervous, because my sister, I didn't know what that lady could do to her," the victim's brother said.
Police recovered both the girl and the abandoned vehicle within an hour following a large scale search in Hialeah Gardens at Northwest 36th Avenue and 74th Street. The girl was reunited with her parents.
Police arrested Dopico near the initial scene on West Okeechobee Road. She has been charged with grand theft of a vehicle. Police said that's the only charge she's facing, because there is no evidence she intended to abduct the child.
Dopico has a history of drug abuse with a criminal past that includes armed robbery, home invasion, burglary, grand theft, domestic violence and child neglect, according to police.
The girl's parents said they are grateful the police and community worked so hard to find their daughter quickly.
"If we can learn anything from this almost-tragedy is you cannot leave a vehicle unattended with the keys inside, even for one second," said Carl Zogby with Hialeah Police.