A woman in Florida kidnapped her 5-year-old daughter, led authorities on a high-speed chase on the freeway, and then crashed into a pond, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. The child died. Pamela Tereza Cabrera, 32, remains locked up for charges including fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, vehicular homicide, and multiple counts of battery to a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or EMT, online jail records show.
Family identified the child as Vanity, according to television stations WJXX/WTLV.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office initially did not name the people involved. In an impromptu press conference after the incident, Officer Christian Hancock said that authorities got a call about an in-progress kidnapping. An officer en route encountered the suspect vehicle at a traffic light by initially approaching it from a head-on angle. The driver matched the suspect’s description, he said. The officer turned to approach the vehicle from behind, but the suspect fled, Hancock said.
The driver, who allegedly had a knife during the abduction, led authorities in a 30-mile chase where speeds reached about 90 m.p.h., the officer said. The woman tried to exit Interstate 95 at one point, but she ended up driving off the ramp and into the pond, he said. Officers got out of their vehicles, took off their gear, and went into the water, where they apprehended the woman but could not find the child.
A dive team finally discovered the girl dead at the bottom of the pond, Hancock said.
Cabrera lived with mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to records obtained by WJAX.
She reportedly lost custody of Vanity to the Department of Children and Families, who give the child to her sister. Her mother reportedly tried to get her help, seeking power of attorney to help her make decisions.
Family said there was an altercation at a home on Shore Rush Trail before the incident on Friday.
Cabrera reportedly did not show up to court because of “disruptive” behavior, and she is currently under a mental health evaluation.
An arraignment is set for April 21.
[Booking photo via Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office]
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