Man who kidnapped 11-yr-old girl chased down by heroic citizens who spotted her in the backseat

Most of us have few opportunities in our lives to become real-life heroes, but that's exactly what happened to Amanda Disley when she discovered a kidnapped girl in the backseat of a car.

Massachusetts State Police had issued an Amber Alert on January 15, informing citizens that 11-year-old Charlotte Moccia had reportedly been forced into a car shortly after getting off the school bus in the town of Springfield. "Preliminary investigation suggests that a white or Hispanic male was walking behind CHARLOTTE and forced her into the back of an older model (believed to be 2001-2005), dark blue or black Honda, possibly a Civic, with an unknown plate," the alert stated. "The vehicle has distinctive aftermarket rims and a moonroof."


According to TB Daily News, Amber Disley was driving around Springfield when she noticed someone being pushed down in the backseat of a Honda Civic and thought it looked suspicious. She and her husband weren't sure if it was the car described in the Amber Alert, but they had a "gut feeling" based on the rims and "the funny movements in the car." They called the police and started filming themselves following the car. Disley stayed on the phone with the dispatch describing what was happening and where they were.

The car appeared to go behind a building, but then came back around beside Disley's car. At one point, the Civic was reportedly traveling 100mph through the city, blasting through a red light, while Disley and her husband tried to stay behind and keep their eyes on the car.

While dangerous and certainly not recommended to follow a speeding car through red lights, the heroic actions of this couple paid off. State Troopers knew where to look for the car and were able to stop the driver on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Police report that Charlotte Moccia was recovered safely with no apparent physical injuries. The kidnapper, 24-year-old Miguel Rodriguez of Springfield, was arrested and taken into custody.

Family members of the accused told MassLive that Rodriguez has schizophrenia and has often exhibited bizarre behavior. According to police, Rodriguez had threatened to stab Moccia if she screamed or tried to get out of the car, but in a brief court appearance, he pleaded not guilty to aggravated kidnapping, intimidation of a witness, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Amber Alerts may be easy to ignore, but this story shows how the system can work when citizens are alerted to reported abductions. Who knows what may have happened to Charlotte Moccia if this couple hadn't spotted the kidnapper's car and followed it. Thankfully, we'll never have to find out.

We'd love to end the story there, but the nature of the internet compels us to add this note: Some scammers have set up a GoFundMe claiming to be raising money for Disley, and she is very clear on the fact that she and her husband did not set it up and don't know who did. She posted an emotional video to Facebook explaining that any GoFundMe is not associated with them, and that they hope whoever is collecting money off of this incident will send the money to the girl who was kidnapped.

Unfortunately, with internet notoriety comes inevitable negativity and opportunists. Don't let it get you down, Amanda. You helped save a girl from who-knows-what kind of trauma, and for that you should be proud.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less