Don’t mess with dad!

A story like this will leave you speechless, especially if you are a parent.

For Freddie Cantrell, that day was something he will never forget. He lives just across the street across Regional Park in Auburn. His kids and his ex-wife are regular visitors there and have outdoor activities. But that unfaithful night something unexpected happened, while his ex-wife and her husband were supervising the kids.

They used to love that park

“I got a phone call from my ex-wife telling me that I need to come down quickly. She said ‘Someone just tried to kidnap our daughter, Aubrey’,” Cantrell recalls.

As shocking as it may seem it happened in front of her sister, 6-year old Natalie

“Some unknown guy just came here, started dragging her. He attempted to run over and take her with him,” little Natalie remembers.

They took immediate action

The mother and her husband saw this and reacted quickly. They were running, trying to catch the felon. Cantrell saw them and started to run in the opposite direction, knowing that was the only way to catch him.

“He was wearing handcuffs wrapped across his fingers and tried to use them on me. He intended to make them seem like brass knuckles and punch me with them. I had no other option than to act immediately and knock him out,” Cantrell vividly remembers.

It was 26-year old Yonel Hernandez-Velasco

Shortly after, the Deputy County arrived at the scene and was put into custody 26-year old Yonel Hernandez-Velasco for attempted kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon.

“We watch the news every day, we are aware of the bad things happening to other people. We just hope that something like that will never happen to our children,” stated April McGuinness a nearby neighbor and witness of the incident.


The woman’s son, an 11-year-old boy join the conversation and said “I can’t imagine what would happen if the roles switched and I was the victim. Usually, I come here alone.”

The story spread out fast, and for most of the neighbors nearby Regional Park, it’s a relief that the criminal is out of the streets.

Another neighbor said “My reaction would be similar, if not the same. We are talking about kids here it doesn’t matter if they are mine, or someone else.”

Cantrell let his self-defense mechanism kick in and do the work

“I heard so many people praising me and telling me ‘Oh, you’re such a hero, you saved the girl’, and I don’t know what else to respond then to tell them ‘That little girl is my daughter, and I must protect her at any cost,’” says Cantrell.

The mother of Aubrey decided to document the incident and post it on Facebook. Her post became viral, it was shared more than 1,000 times and got hundreds of comments from concerned people all over the country. The father was praised for his bravery.

It was unclear whether the suspect Hernandez-Velasco was under influence of drugs or alcohol. He was transported to the hospital, and blood samples were taken to identify him. Shortly after, he was taken to Auburn Jail and booked on charges of attempted kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. He will remain in custody and his bail is set for $1.2 million.

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