The baby Victoria kidnapping case cast one young Canadian family into a state of terror a day after her birth, when a young woman walked out of a hospital in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, with the child in tow.
However, thanks to Facebook and four young heroes, the case has now reached a joyous end, with mother and baby reunited and a 21-year-old suspect in custody.
Mélissa McMahon shared her horror and relief through a Facebook post on Tuesday, stating that her family had “experienced the worst time of our lives” following the abduction.
“It was a feeling that nobody should have to live through. The helplessness in this situation was difficult to accept,” she added.
Luckily, there were four young adults — three women and a man — who were tuned in to their social media pages when Quebec provincial police issued the Amber Alert.
The alert cautioned for Facebookers to look out for “a red Toyota Yaris hatchback with a ‘Bébé à bord’ (‘Baby on Board’) sticker.”
Sgt. Martine Asselin: “The media really helped us put out the picture and the description fast. We could see on the TV, on the media, on Facebook, everything we needed and very fast… the public was able to call us and give us information.”
The four young heroes then went searching for a vehicle that fit the description and had tracked it down within three hours of the alert.
“We saw [the alert] on Facebook, and decided to go looking for red cars, and we saw the woman. We recognized her,” said 20-year-old Mélizanne Bergeron.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have access to all their names at the time of this writing, but here’s a pic of these awesome crime fighters together, courtesy CBC:
EDIT: Since this story originally posted, the rescuers have been identified as (left-to-right in above photo) Sharelle Bergeron, Marc-Andre Coté, Charlène Plante and Mélizanne Bergeron.
The name of the person who abducted baby Victoria has not been released at this time; the child was returned to her family earlier today.
To the entire Facebook community, McMahon issued this final statement: “Thousands of people shared the photo of the woman on social networks… Know that this is what has saved our little Victoria. Each click, each share made the difference.”
McMahon also confirmed that she had met her child’s rescuers, describing them all as “wonderful people.”
While Facebook and social media get a lot of grief — sometimes well-deserved — stories like this remind us that as long as there are people with good hearts willing to go that extra mile to help total strangers, these sites will remain welcome additions to our society.
Congratulations to the family and the rescuers of baby Victoria. May we all strive to be as gracious and brave!