Melody Maldonado, 33, leads a quiet life. She works as a librarian in Hobbs, New Mexico. She has a six-year-old daughter who is autistic and an eleven-month-old son. On Independence Day, Maldonado’s life was turned upside down when a carjacker broke into her SUV and tried to speed away from the scene with the two children still strapped in the back of the vehicle.
Maldonado refuses to let the carjacker kidnap her two children, so she lunges forward and lands on the hood of the white SUV. She clings to the front of the vehicle as the carjacker tries to lose her, speeding along East Navajo Drive. The incident occurred around 8:30 pm on the Fourth of July.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Mail, Maldonado said that she felt no fear as she tried to stop the carjacker, who was a female. The suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Regina Castillo. While clinging to the front of the car, Maldonado repeatedly yells at the driver to stop the vehicle and release her children immediately.
“She definitely heard me. I yelled for her to stop and that my kids were in the car,” the protective mother said. “She kept driving. We went a good distance, through an intersection, past the Allsup’s. She was swerving so that I would fall off.”
Eventually, Regina sped up the car so fast that Maldonado was physically unable to hold on anymore. She was thrown from the hood of the car and smashed against the ground, breaking her ankle during the fall. Nevertheless, she managed to hobble over to a nearby convenience store, where she was able to place an emergency call with the local police department.
“I didn’t care what happened to the car. I just wanted my kids back.”
When police arrived, which they did pretty quickly, they spoke to Maldonado about the incident. Body camera footage from Hobbs Police officers showed the desperate mother working with police to help them track down her stolen vehicle so her children could be rescued.
“If I can find my phone. My phone is in the car. I can find out where the car is at,” she said, according to body camera footage.
While police hunted for the stolen vehicle, Regina Castillo drove through dusty neighborhoods until she found a spot along a road to dump the 6-year-old girl, Ma’Rey, who has autism. Fortunately, there were people near that random street who were willing to help calm the girl down until she could be reunited with her mother.
“She left my daughter on the street because my daughter had a phone, and she thought that they were tracking her with the phone,” she said.
Eventually, police caught up with the stolen car. She dumped it at an intersection, leaving 11-month-old Mikah alone in the vehicle. Castillo then tried to flee police on foot but failed miserably. She made it into a person’s backyard, where she was tackled and handcuffed.
“I hope it never happens to anyone else,” Maldonado said.
Her children were “a little shook up. My son is too young to speak.”
Maldonado received treatment for her broken left foot and “lots of road rash.”
Castillo was charged with stealing a car with two children in the car.
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