DALLAS, Texas - The 10-year-old boy who was kidnapped in Dallas on Monday and the Good Samaritan who found him and called police are telling their sides of the story.
Police say it was the media's quick response that got pictures of Nicholas Fierros out in the public. Nicholas says he's grateful to the woman who recognized him from the pictures and stopped to help.
Nicholas says the men who took him never hurt him or hit him. What they did was frighten Nicholas and his family.
When three men came into Nicholas’ aunt’s house, he says he was playing video games. The men hit his aunt and demanded money from her. When she couldn’t give them any, the men took Nicholas.
Nicholas’ cousin, 14-year-old Janet Cabrales, was also in the house when the masked men showed up. She says while the men yelled at her mother, she and her younger brother were able to hide.
“They were threatening her,” Janet said. “They're like, ‘Do you want to live or do you want to die? Where is the money?’ Repeatedly asking where's the money at.”
The 10-year-old boy says the men put him in the backseat of a truck, taped his feet, hands, and chest and covered his face. He says he remembers he was taken to another home and left in a room by himself. Sometime later, the men took him back out.
Nicholas remembers the men left him in the backyard of a home that looked abandoned, told him to look down while they removed whatever was covering his face and left him by himself in the rain. He says he walking on the street when a Good Samaritan, Cathleen Leal, saw him as she drove by and stopped to help him.
Leal says she was driving home from a trip to the store when she noticed a child with no shoes in the rain. She circled back around before recognizing Nicholas from news alerts on social media. She took around the corner to her house to wait on police and gave him a dry shirt, some water and a turkey and ham sandwich.
“She showed me a picture on her phone, a picture of me and she said, ‘Is that you?’ Then I said yes,” Nicholas recalled. “She told me ‘Get inside of the car. I'm going to take you to my house.’”
“I started crying, ‘Oh my god. I can imagine what your mom is feeling right now,’” Leal recalled. “But I was so happy because he was safe.”
Leal, who lost her own son to medical issues eight years ago, recalled saying a prayer that Nicholas would be found when she heard he was missing. She says she never imagined she would be the one answering that prayer.
“I'm grateful God let me be a part of that,” she said. “I don't know how it feels to get your son back, but she does. And I was able to have a part of that, so it blesses me. Makes me happy.”
The 10-year-old’s mom says her son would often go to his aunt and uncle's house to play with his cousins during the summer. However, after the kidnapping ordeal, she says he's not going back. She believes the kidnappers were trying to take his uncle’s kid. She adds she is thankful for what Leal did for her son.
Nicholas’ uncle, Samuel Cabrales, says he was eating lunch at a nearby restaurant when he got calls from the kidnappers, demanding $60,000. He says he raced home and received two texts from a different number saying to tell the police and helicopter to leave.
Samuel believes the texts were from the kidnappers and says he shared the information with police.
“I was surprise. I said what is this about? And he said he want $60,000," he said.
Samuel says he did not recognize the voice on the phone.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Dallas police said no arrests had been made, and police are actively searching for the three men. Police said the men were wearing masks. And because Nicholas had his face covered, there is not a description of the attackers.
Police did emphasize they do not believe it was a random crime and believe money was the motive for the robbery.
“We want to relieve any fear by the public that there's a crew of home invasion suspects that are randomly breaking into homes and taking children if they don't get what they want,” said Dallas Assistant Police Chief Randy Blankenbaker.
Police would not elaborate on why they think the family was targeted but are looking for witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious before or after the crime.