"This is the best possible outcome we could have asked for," said the police after the baby was safely back in the arms of her parents.
A little girl, just a year old, was abducted when a man stole an SUV from the driveway of a home in the 2600 block of Green Valley Street in Valrico, Florida.
While the baby, Tinnley Sage West, was fast asleep in the backseat of the 2018 silver Volkswagen SUV, her mother left the car running and quickly ran into the house to leave some things inside. Chelsea Noriega wasn't gone for long, but within less than a minute, a suspect had jumped into the car and driven off, taking baby Tinnley along with him, according to ABC Action News - WFTS.
"Where is she? Where's my car with her in it? Where is she?" Chelsea thought to herself and said as she recalled the moment, "It was just scary, really scary."
After the little girl went missing around 3 pm on February 16, a statewide Amber Alert was issued and a search began on land and air.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) released footage that was captured by the neighbor's camera, recording the man who is believed to be the suspect that stole the vehicle.
"Moments before he stole the car, he was walking through the neighborhood asking people driving by, driving home from work if they could give him a ride," said Sheriff Chad Chronister.
DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS? This person may have more information about the whereabouts of Tinnley Sage West, and the suspect that took off in a Volkswagen SUV with her in it. CALL 813-247-8200 WITH INFORMATION. #SHARE #teamHCSO pic.twitter.com/gPNkf9gyTG— HCSO (@HCSOSheriff) February 16, 2021
A few hours after the vehicle was stolen, Tinnley was found around three miles away from the family's house, left alone in the car abandoned at a church parking lot, according to People. The child was "unharmed and returned to her parents," HCSO revealed.
"I couldn't imagine. I was in shock... in shock, but Chad and his boys did a good job, got my little girl back," the baby's father, Jonathan West, said according to ABC Action News - WFTS.
Footage from Tinnley's rescue was also shared, showing Master Corporal John finding the crying baby inside the vehicle. Not only was Corporal Seale praised for the rescue, but was also awarded the "Chief's Challenge Coin."
In a news release after Tinnley was found, Sheriff Chronister said, as quoted by People, "We are so thankful for Master Corporal Seale and the countless deputies who worked tirelessly to locate Baby Tinnley West and reunite her with her family. It was a privilege to personally thank him today for his diligence and job well done."
"This is the best possible outcome we could have asked for, and it brought us a tremendous amount of joy and relief being able to return Tinnley West safely to her family," Sheriff Chronister also said in another statement about the incident. "While I am thankful that the suspect did the right thing, he will still face the consequences for his actions."
Hoping to find the suspect soon, the officer urged the public to come forward if they have any information, saying, "We want to locate this individual immediately, and we're asking the public to help us bring him to justice."
Happy to be reunited with her daughter, Chelsea expressed her gratitude and thanked those who helped with the search.
Cover image credit: Twitter/HCSOSheriff