Kidnapped teen rescued after using Snapchat to get help

National News

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CNN) – A kidnapped 14-year-old girl was rescued after she used Snapchat to get help.

The girl was drugged and kidnapped Tuesday by three men, one of whom sexually assaulted her. The men drove her about 40 miles from where she was taken. She was disoriented and had no idea where she was, KPIX reported.

The girl used Snapchat to send a message that read, “Somebody help me. I’m in a random man’s car… I am not in Santa Cruz. Where am I,”.

The app allows friends to share their locations with each other if the app is open. The location expires after a few hours of not using the app.

Experts say Snapchat’s location feature is extremely precise. San Jose University professor Ahmen Banafa told KPIX that the location is accurate down to a few feet.

“I’ve tested it many times. It’s even your position inside a building. It gives an approximate location for where a person is standing,” Banafa said.

Banafa told KPIX that Snapchat was a smart thing for the teen to use in this situation.

“When you’re calling police, people can overhear you,” Banafa said. “This is a silent way to broadcast your location. And you have to understand that Snapchat broadcasts your location to multiple friends, not just one.”

The girl’s friends were able to see her location in the app and called 911.

Officers found the girl and arrested Albert Thomas Vasquez on charges of kidnapping to commit rape, digital penetration with a child under 14 with force, false imprisonment, lewd act with a child and rape by intoxication or controlled substance.

Antonio Quirino Salvador and Hediberto Gonzalez Avarenga were also arrested on kidnapping and conspiracy charges.

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