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Driver helps abducted girl flee
FRESNO | An 8-year-old girl who was abducted outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning, thanks to an alert driver, police said.
Police said the driver spotted a truck that matched the description of the kidnapper’s and followed it. When he saw the girl’s head in the window, he cut off the truck and the girl bolted.
Elisa Cardenas was found about 11 hours after she disappeared. She was taken to a hospital, where she was said to be in good condition.
Police said a suspect was arrested.
Authorities said Elisa was playing with six other girls Monday night when a stranger lured her into his pickup and drove off. Witnesses chased the vehicle, and an Amber Alert was issued.
Parolee convicted of killing mom, girls
NEW HAVEN | A paroled burglar was convicted Tuesday of murdering a woman and her two daughters during a night of terror inside the family’s home in a well-to-do Connecticut town.
Steven Hayes, 47, was convicted of capital felony, murder, sexual assault and other counts by a jury that heard eight days of gruesome testimony. The verdict triggers the trial’s second phase, beginning Oct. 18, in which the same jurors will decide whether Hayes should be executed or face life in prison.
Prosecutors said Hayes and another ex-convict, Joshua Komisarjevsky, broke into the family’s house in Cheshire in 2007, beat the girls’ father with a baseball bat and forced their mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, to withdraw money from a bank before sexually assaulting and strangling her.
Then they tied the girls, ages 11 and 17, to their beds, put pillowcases over their heads, poured gasoline on or around them and set the house on fire, authorities said. The girls died of smoke inhalation.
The sole survivor, Dr. William Petit, appeared to hold back tears as the verdict was read.
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