SAN DIEGO, California -- An 8-year-old girl is being hailed for her heroics and a San Diego father has been reunited with his children after a woman stole the car they were sitting in from a parking lot.
The girl, named Malaiha, confronted the woman.
"'If you don't take us back to our daddy, I'll call police,'" she recalled telling the woman. "Then I called 911. Then she threatened me, and she said 'If you don't give me the phone, I'll drive in circles and crash.'"
Police said the father left the girl and her 3-year-old brother in the car Monday morning to go inside a store.
The suspect then jumped in and took off. The father chased after the car but couldn't catch it.
"I look and see my car make a right turn," he said. "I ran out into traffic. Almost caught the car, but she started driving erratically. I was just stuck in the middle of the street just crying and bawling."
"I saw my daddy coming up, and I yelled out the window, 'Daddy,'" Malaiha said. "But she rolled the window up."
The girl then managed to call 911 from inside the car.
"They said, '911, what's your emergency,'" she said. "And I said, 'Me and my little brother got kidnapped.' And they said, 'Where are you and what can you see?' And I said, 'Signs for the Mexico border.'"
Officers caught up with them right before the woman could reach the U.S.-Mexico border.
"I'm very proud of her," the father said. "I'm just thankful for God. I'm very, very thankful for the San Diego Police Department and every other law enforcement agency that joined in and got my kids back within hours."
The woman is facing charges.
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8-year-old calls 911 after she and 3-year-old brother kidnapped in California