SPRINGFIELD, MASS. (WHDH) - A 24-year-old man accused of kidnapping an 11-year-old girl soon after she got off her school bus in Springfield has been ordered held without bail.
Miguel Rodriguez was arraigned Thursday morning in Springfield District Court on charges including kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, and witness intimidation in connection with the abduction of a young girl, which prompted an Amber Alert on Wednesday.
Rodriguez, who was handcuffed and wearing a white jumpsuit, was also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.
Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood called Rodriguez “evil” and said he took the girl for “nefarious reasons.”
“It was a matter of finding her quickly and not giving him time,” Clapprood said.
Julius Kennedy recalled hearing the girl yell for help after a stranger grabbed her and pushed her in his car around 1:30 p.m.
“It looked like a male from the other side, and he was bent over, and I heard her scream and holler. He threw her in the back,” Kennedy recalled.
The suspect car was described as a Honda Civic, the same vehicle that a surveillance camera caught following the girl just a day before.
Kennedy and his wife called 911, which eventually led to authorities issuing an Amber Alert.
Numerous drivers reported spotting the suspect car on the Mass. Pike to state police, prompting troopers to respond to the eastbound side of the highway in Sturbridge, according to Lt. Charles Murray.
“There were a number of those calls,” he said. “They made this rescue possible.”
Officials say the 11-year-old was inside and shaken up but safe. She was evaluated as a precaution by EMS but state police say she had no apparent injuries.
7NEWS was there when state police arrested Rodriguez, who allegedly lives just a half-mile from her home.
Rodriguez was held overnight at the Massachusetts State Police – Charlton Barracks before being brought before the judge.
He is due back in court on Jan. 22 for a dangerousness hearing.
This is a developing story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest updates.
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