Jan 21, 2012 8:05 PM by David Ortiviz

Parents, community praise 9-year old as "hero"

"She's my hero. That's my hero." Calysta Cordova's parents praised their 9-year old daughter today. On Friday, she escaped from a kidnapper and called 911.

"We're just glad she's home. We love her. She's loved she's safe she's home that's all that matters," said Stephanie Cordova, Calysta's mother.

Earlier this afternoon family, friends and bikers gathered outside Salon in the City in Pueblo shower Cordova with love. They shared hugs, gave her toys and appeared to have a pizza party.

Cordova went missing on Thursday when she didn't come home from Columbian Elementary School in Pueblo. She and her accused kidnapper Jose Garcia were at a Circle K gas station in Colorado Springs the following day, when the brave little girl took matters into her own hands. Cordova got away, went inside the store and called 911.

Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler says families everywhere can learn from Cordova's example. He says remind your children not to panic, look for opportunities and choose the right moment. Van Zandt spoke this morning with the Today Show's Amy Robach. "Sometimes in these cases Amy you get one chance to survive and at 9-years old to have the wisdom to look for the opportunity she used her head, she's alive today."

Above all he tells parent teach your child never to let anyone take them willingly. "Don't just yell and scream, yell this is not my father this is not my mother, start knocking things off the shelf draw as much attention as you can," said Van Zandt.

At the convenience store Calysta Cordova was overhead saying "I'm not going nowhere. I'm waiting right here for my mama."

Garcia was caught and arrested.



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