Hero Antioch teacher’s aide who rescued girl from stranger’s car speaks

ANTIOCH (KRON) — Quick-thinking may have saved a young life.

A Sutter Elementary school teacher’s aide rescued an 11-year-old girl from a stranger’s car. And on Monday night, she told her story.

The extremely humble teacher needed some convincing to tell her story, but it is one every parent, every community member, should hear.

Sandra Ferguson doesn’t usually get flowers at work.  These were a surprise Monday at one of her three jobs.

“She comes across as humble and shy and meek,” principal Debra Harrington said. “But, she is a woman of great stamina.”

Sandra is a teacher’s aide, an office helper, and a cleaning lady on the weekends, and a certified nurse’s assistant. She makes the same drive often down G Street, passing the same little girl.

But on Friday, something was off.

“Her body language was different. Something was totally off,” Ferguson said.

Following her intuition, Sandra circled back to check on the girl, who was now in the car with a stranger.

“I said, ‘Sweetheart, is that your dad?’” Ferguson said. “He [the stranger] said, ‘no, she’s just my friend.’”

That is when Sandra knew something wasn’t just off — it was wrong.

“I said, ‘you are too old to be her friend!’” Ferguson said. “I said, ‘you need to get out of the car, now!’”

Sandra waited with the little girl and the strange man until police arrived. When they got there, officers arrested 51-year-old Santiago Salazar.

And on Monday, he is facing kidnapping charges. No one knows his intentions.

The gravity of it all has just now hit Sandra.

“I was very close to him, asking him in Spanish, ‘don’t you think it’s wrong to have a little girl in your car?’” Ferguson said. “He didn’t think anything was wrong.”

Support for Sandra is now coming in from all over the country, including a GoFundMe page to give her a vacation.

Even if Sandra is still humble, her principal is bursting with pride.

“She was a guarding angel for this girl,” Harrington said. “And true to the person that she is. She was never afraid.”

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