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‘God Led Us to This Place:’ Hero Says Divine Intervention Helped Him Find Kidnapped Girl

By Zachary Stieber

The hero pastor who located a Texas girl who had been kidnapped said that God helped him find her.

Salem Sabatka, 8, was walking with her mother in Fort Worth on May 18 when a man grabbed her, threw her in his car, and sped away.

She was rescued the next day.

Law enforcement officials said that members of a local church found the suspect’s car in the parking lot of a hotel, the WoodSpring Suites in the suburb of Forest Hill.

One of the heroes was later identified as Jeff King, pastor at Bear Creek Bible Church in Keller.

“I was sitting at home with my wife when a friend texted and said that our friends’ daughter had been kidnapped. All I could think is what are we going to do to help?” King told NBC 5. He was soon joined by a friend.

“We were told by detectives at the scene that the best places to check are hotels, apartments, and parks,” he said.

The pair drove around Fort Worth looking for the vehicle. Police had circulated a description of the car based on the account from Salem’s mother.

Just after midnight, King and his friend got information about a hotel in Forest Hill. They went to the hotel and didn’t see the vehicle but then drove to the Suites hotel, which was nearby.

“We started looking at different cars like they were suggesting. We saw one car and were like, it’s got to be this car.” King said. They alerted the police, who found Salem.

King said he was in disbelief when he heard that the girl had been saved. He also credited God for the rescue.

“God literally led us to this place. It was not on my itinerary, I was not trying to go there, we just drove by. It was divine intervention, 100 percent,” King said.

After Salem was rescued, Buddy Calzada, spokesman for the Fort Worth police, told reporters that the members of the church were “our heroes.”

Police arrested and charged Michael Webb, also known as “Thin Man,” for allegedly abducting Salem.

Webb was indicted for sexual assault in mid-2018 along with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, reported WFAA. Smith County District Attorney Richard Vance said he had to dismiss the charges because officials couldn’t locate the victim.

He said he recognized Webb’s name when he read the news of the kidnapping.

“When I heard the name, I remembered the case and [you] just kind of have a pit in your stomach,” he said. “There wasn’t anything in [the previous case] that would indicate he’d be the type to do anything with a child.”

Police officials said that the investigation so far indicates that the kidnapping was random.

“At this point in time, it may have seemed like it was just a random deal,” Calzada said. “He just decided to take this child at this given moment.”