Girl, 12, Thwarts Burglars as She Hides Under a Blanket and Calls 911
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A 12-year-old girl in Troutdale, Ore., called 911 and helped local police nab three suspects when burglars broke into her home Monday afternoon.
KATU, the ABC affiliate in Portland, reports MacKenize Hughes was home alone when she hid under her covers and called 911, describing the car outside and what was happening inside the house.
"I heard a knock on the door," she tells NBC's "Today." "It was this Hispanic guy I've never seen in my life. So I just sat there really, really quietly, and he kept on pounding on the door. And all of a sudden, I saw him turn the knob."
She immediately ran to her room and called 911.
"He's rummaging around," she tells the dispatcher on the recorded 911 call. "I can hear."
"OK. Talk quiet, OK?" the dispatcher responds on the recording. "Can you tell where the noises are coming from?"
"Yeah, it's right down the hall."
At one point, "Today" reports, the burglar was in the girl's bedroom.
"I could just feel one of them staring right at me, like right there by me," Hughes tells "Today." "I was freaked out. I felt so sick to my stomach."
A nearby Troutdale police officer reportedly arrived roughly a minute later, his gun drawn. Officers arrested the man in the house, another in a getaway car and the last suspect as he ran down the street.
KATU reports neighbor Tim Casey saw the arrests and later talked with Hughes.
"She was saying she tried to call her dad first," Casey tells the station. "He's a TriMet (the local mass transit system) bus driver. She wasn't able to get a hold of him, so she called 911. I know that one of the officers gave her a big hug and told her, thumbs up, 'That was really good thinking.' "
Prosecutors in the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office tell KATU suspect Jorge Avila-Rodas has a history of drug use. After being released from jail Monday night, the station reports, the judge agreed he should be locked up again.
Suspect Benito Flores-Amador, a suspected illegal immigrant, also faces a charge of first-degree burglary. The third suspect, Alexis Colidres-Munoz, pleaded not guilty to the burglary charge. All three will be back in court next week.
Sgt. Steven Bevens of the Troutdale Police Department tells NBC News Hughes serves as example for how to respond in a crisis.
"She did exactly what everyone should do," he says. "It was great."
According to KATU, detectives in Troutdale (a suburb just east of Portland) suspect the burglary is part of a rash of home invasions in East Multnomah County. They tell the station they have DNA samples from the suspects and plan to compare them to samples found at a recent daytime burglary in the nearby city of Gresham.
There have been five burglaries in Troutdale in the last several months, KATU reports. Each one was during the day and with a door forced in. This is the first time anyone's been home at the time.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.