KIDNAPPERS didn’t have a chance when they grabbed 17-year-old MELISSA DURAN. The plucky teen from Henderson, Nev., is a fan of the hit TV series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” so she left a trail of clues to help police rescue her.
“I’m safe and that’s all that matters,” said Melissa after a SWAT team stormed the apartment where she was being held and ended her ordeal.
Melissa, a high school senior, was at home getting ready for classes on Aug. 31, when she answered a knock at the door. A man standing there threw sand in her face and began dragging her toward a car.
“He was hitting me because I was putting up a big fight,” said Melissa. “Then another guy came. I just remember I saw my little brother coming out.”
Kevin Duran, 11, had heard the commotion and came running with a baseball bat.
“I was going to try and hit one of the guys of the guys,” said Kevin. “But he reached behind his back like he had a gun and said, ‘Don’t come closer. Don’t call the police.’”
As the car sped away, Kevin and his mom Lori ran after it screaming for help.
In the car, a terrified Melissa, who’d been blindfolded, heard one of the kidnappers make a cell phone call.
“They called my mom and said, ‘We have your daughter and if you call the police we’re going to kill her,’ ” Melissa recalled.
Then one of the abductors told Melissa: “If your dad tries to do anything, we’re going to kill him too, and we’re going to do things I can’t even imagine to you.”
Despite her fear, Melissa thought about how the experts on “CSI” trace clues. She ripped off a piece of her clothing and dropped it in the car.
Later, as she was held bound and blindfolded in an apartment near Las Vegas, she managed to remove a bracelet that she hoped police would find in case her kidnappers moved her to another location.
The fiends had demanded $150,000 for her safe return. But Melissa kept hope because she heard over the TV they were watching that police had issued an Amber Alert for her.
“A neighbor’s security camera captured the car on tape,” Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul told The ENQUIRER. “We put out a photo of the vehicle.”
Cops also traced the kidnappers’ cell phone to the apartment complex where Melissa was being held.
And 21 hours after she was abducted, Melissa was rescued unharmed, and the alleged kidnappers, Alejandro Sanchez-Sanchez and Cesar Sanchez-Vasquez, were arrested. Two alleged accomplices, Mariano Sanchez-Sanchez and Jose Sanchez- Perez were nabbed days later. All were charged with kidnapping, extortion and conspiracy.
Police said the two kidnappers had recently been fired from the landscaping business owned by Melissa’s dad, Michael.
“I knew that police were looking for me,” said Melissa, who was glad she watches “CSI.”
“That made me feel like, alright. Next step, leave clues.”