Springfield kidnapping suspect going through ’emotional and mental issues,’ family says

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. (WHDH) - The family of a 24-year-old man accused of kidnapping an 11-year-old girl at knifepoint in Springfield on Wednesday is dealing with an array of “emotional and mental issues,” a family member said following a frantic search to track down the victim.

The sister of Miguel Rodriguez, who did not want to show her face on camera, called 911 to report that her brother’s vehicle was connected to the Amber Alert that was issued after the girl was abducted in the area of Amherst Street around 1:30 p.m.

“It was heartbreaking for me because he is my brother,” Maria Perez told 7NEWS. “He is going through emotional and mental issues. I was just concerned 100 percent for that girl.”

Perez says she and her family went to court on four different occasions in an effort to get Rodriguez civilly committed, but they were unable to convince a judge that he was in need of treatment.

The extent of Rodriguez’s alleged actions was shocking to Perez.

“We didn’t expect him to go this far because everything was like mentally in house,” she said.

In July and August of 2018, two separate family members filed restraining orders against Rodriguez because they were afraid of him, court documents indicate.

One family member claimed that Rodriguez would routinely walk around the house with a knife in the middle of the night. His mother complained that she feared he was going to harm the family.

“We don’t want to excuse him for his behavior,” Perez added. “We understand and it’s not an excuse.”

Springfield police say they arrested Rodriguez for sexual assault of a minor about 18 months ago but the charge was later dismissed.

Rodriguez had been living alone with state assistance before recently moving back in with his mother.

His family says he had not been taking his medication.

He is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.

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