Calysta was reported missing Thursday afternoon by her mother when she didn’t come home from school on time. Calysta’s stepfather, Steven Ryno said:
“My baby girl always walks through my door at 3:21 p.m. I noticed something was wrong, when she was nine minutes late…I called everyone, I panicked.”
Authorities believed she was abducted on her walk home from school and issued an Amber Alert right away.
“We must find her, that was the main thing that was kicking through our head. It is getting late, it is getting dark, it is getting cold, and I know my baby is hungry,” said Ryno, as the events ran through his head.
Thankfully, Calysta was found safe last Friday at the Circle K convenience store in Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs police spokeswoman, Barbara Miller, said that authorities believe Calysta was in a car with 29-year-old suspect Jose Garcia when the car broke down.
A passerby then picked them up and drove them to a Circle K convenience store. Once they got there, Calysta immediately ran into the store and asked to use the phone to call her uncle. Instead, she dialed 911.
When Garcia entered the store after her, Calysta refused to go anywhere with him and yelled:
“I’m not going anywhere with you. I’m waiting for my mom.”
When asked how she found the strength to do what she did on the “Good Morning America” show, Calysta said her father taught her to always stand up for herself. She said:
“I got my fight from Daddy.”
An eyewitness at the Circle K, Efrin Villapondo, said:
“She had two black eyes, bruises on her cheek. She was in bad shape. The bruise on her face was enormous…She looked at me, pointed into my eyes and just said, ‘I ain’t going nowhere. I’m waiting right here for my momma. I looked at the guy, he looked at me, into my eyes, spun around and just high-tailed it out of there.”
Garcia was found at a bus stop in downtown Colorado Springs, about 7.5 miles south of the convenience store where they had been dropped off.
When the family learned that their little girl had been found safe, they cried with joy. Calysta’s mother, Stephanie Cordova, took a moment to thank everyone by saying:
“Thank God. Thank you for everybody who watched, who kept an eye out for my daughter and brought her home,” Cordova said, crying. “Thank you for your kindness, for putting yourselves in our shoes and bringing my daughter home.”