A family in Florida is mourning the loss of their 5-year-old girl after a suspected kidnapping led to a high-speed police chase and a subsequent fatal crash. Last month, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was informed about a kidnapping on the city’s Northside around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, reports First Coast News.
The person who made the call told officers that a woman armed with a knife had kidnapped 5-year-old Vanity. According to ActionNewsJax, the woman was later identified as 32-year-old Pamela Cabrera and the child she had abducted was her own daughter. When police arrived at the scene, one of them spotted her car at a red light and attempted a traffic stop.
However, Cabrera fled the scene and thus ensued a chase for about about 30 miles with speeds reaching up to 90 mph on I-95 through northern Jacksonville. Per WFLA, Cabrera crashed her vehicle into a retention pond while trying to exit Interstate 95. Her car reportedly drove off the ramp. Officers chasing her immediately hit the brakes and jumped into the pond to rescue both mother and child.
They managed to bring Cabrera to safety but were unable to locate Vanity. A dive team was eventually called to the scene and they found the girl’s dead body at the bottom of the water body. “The child was, unfortunately, located at the bottom of the pond, deceased,” Officer Christian Hancock told News4Jax. The young girl was thrown out of the vehicle during the crash but her cause of death has not been released yet.
As for Cabrera, she was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment before being booked into a Duval County jail. She was charged with eluding police, vehicular homicide, and assaulting a police officer. It was later revealed that the mother had lost custody of Vanity in 2020 due to her struggles with mental health. She had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Cabrera was due to appear in court on April 1 but it didn’t happen due to her “disruptive behavior.” Her arraignment has been postponed to April 21 and she will be undergoing a mental health evaluation at the Jacksonville Jail.