Sweet Rewards for Utah Bakery Owner Who Rescued 3-Year-Old Girl
Leslie Fiet saw an Amber Alert on her cellphone and jumped to action
Fiet, 44, was in her bakery's kitchen prepping Valentine’s Day treats on Feb. 4, when, at around 5 p.m., she saw an Amber Alert flash on her cellphone.
Fiet, a mother of two sons, said the alert caught her eye because it indicated the child in danger was in a black SUV. Fiet remembered seeing black SUV parked outside her shop and assumed it was a customer at the framing store next door.
“After I got the message I looked out my door and saw the SUV but there was no license plate on the front,” Fiet, who opened Mini's in 2007, told ABC News. "I went to the other side and saw the license plate and thought, ‘Oh my hell.’”
Sitting inside the black SUV was the focus of the Amber Alert, 3-year-old Bella Martinez. Bella had been left sleeping inside the car by her father, Pedro Martinez, around 3 p.m., that day while he went into a convenience store located about 25 blocks away from the cupcake shop, according to police.
A woman who approached Martinez for a cigarette at the convenience store got inside his car and drove off with Bella as soon as Martinez was inside the store, Salt Lake South Police Department executive officer Gary Keller told ABC News.
Fiet said when she saw Bella inside the car through an open window, she knew she had to act.
“My initial thought was to call 911 but then I looked closer and saw Bella was in a tremendous amount of stress, hyperventilating and crying," Fiet said. "I just dropped my phone and ran out the door.”
“My thought was just to get her out of the car,” she said. “As I’m diving through the open window I thought, ‘Please don’t shoot me,’ and then I thought, ‘Well if they drive off I’ll be hanging out the window and someone will call 911.’”
Luckily for Fiet and Bella, the suspect, identified by police as 24-year-old Rosealee Maria Key, had already abandoned the SUV.
In a span of what Fiet estimates to be about 30 seconds, she got Bella out of the SUV and safely inside the cupcake shop. Fiet locked the door, only allowing a customer she knew, who was also a nurse, in to help her.
While the customer called 911, Fiet says she read Bella books and gave her a stuffed animal to hold on to.
“I thought about giving her a cupcake but with so many allergies now –- gluten free, dairy free -- I didn’t dare give her any food,” Fiet said.
When a plain-clothed police officer happened to walk by, Fiet let him in, but only after verifying his badge number with the 911 operator.
“He was calling out the number through the window,” she said.
Nearly 45 minutes later, Bella’s parents arrived at Fiet’s store, accompanied by the police chief and their extended family, who had all been out searching for Bella on their own.
“It was a whole lot of thank you’s and hugs,” Fiet said of the meeting. “I don’t think you can even talk at that point.”
“The relief of knowing your child is safe and that nothing has happened to her, what else can you say? You’re just in tears,” she said.
Fiat went home around 8:30 that night and came back to her bakery early the next morning, thinking it would be a normal work day.
“I’m getting lines and lines and I can’t bake and frost fast enough and I’m like, ‘What is going on?,’” Fiet said. “Then someone said, ‘They said what you did on the radio and said to come down and support you.”
So many people came to support Fiet's shop that some of her friends took the day off from their own jobs to help her man the crowds. On Thursday night, a local talk radio show broadcast live from Mini's Cupcakes, keeping the store open well past its usual 6 p.m. closing time.
In addition to the new customers, flowers, cards and thank you notes have been pouring in from complete strangers, according to Fiet.
“People are saying hero which makes me uncomfortable because I don’t feel that way,” she said. “I think of a hero as a firefighter running into a building. I think I have more of an attitude that I’m grateful to have been in a position to be there for Bella..”
One gift that Fiet has not removed from herself is the one given to her by Bella’s father when he and Bella’s family returned to Mini’s Cupcakes on Friday to say thank you again.
“Bella’s parents gave me a beautiful charm necklace with the date of her abduction and angel wings,” Fiet said. “Her dad put it on me and I haven’t taken it off.”
The suspect in the case turned herself into authorities on Feb. 4. She was arrested by police and charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and child endangerment, authorities told ABC News.