SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A California girl who says she was trapped in a world of sex trafficking until recently credits a South Sacramento postal worker with her rescue.
In June, Ivan Crisostomo, a postal carrier, heard sounds of desperation coming from behind a tree. When he looked around, he saw 16-year-old Crystal Allen.
“I hear this crying, this desperate crying,” he said. “I saw her hiding behind this kind of bush, kind of tree.”
Crisostomo, a father of four, said his instincts kicked in when he saw Allen sobbing in someone’s front yard.
“She started to point to her arm, saying: ‘They were putting things in me. They were putting things in me. They are coming to get me,'” Crisostomo recalled Allen telling him, reported FOX40.
Moreover, she told Crisostomo that she was able to escape her captors by jumping out of the car as they were driving through a neighborhood.
“They told me that they were taking me somewhere to hurt me and I kind of just thought I’d grow the balls and jump out the car,” the girl told FOX40.
As she escaped she managed to grab the cellphone of the person who held her captive.
Crisostomo and Allen used the phone to call the teen’s mother, Stacy Ohman. Furthermore, they also called the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department in their attempt to get help.
The postal worker said he stayed with the teenage girl until authorities arrived to take her to the hospital.
“Don’t worry,” Crisostomo told Allen. “Nobody’s going to take you. I’m here for you. Don’t worry.”
“Until she handed the phone to Ivan and we spoke with him, we had no idea what was going on,” Ohman, said. “We had no idea where she was or anything.”
She is now home with her family, CBS13 reported.
Allen was reportedly “drugged, tortured and abused” for three months before she escaped, the news station reported.
“I just cried all the time and prayed that I’d get to see my mom again,” Allen said.
It is not currently clear whose Allen’s alleged captors are or how she became involved with them.
Ohman says Crystal was lured to Sacramento by someone she thought was a friend, then found herself trapped in a world of drugs and sex trafficking.
“The area where she was found is a notoriously high crime area, lots of drugs, prostitution, gangs in that area, so Ivan standing by with her really provided that comfort, that safety and security until officers could arrive,” Latoya Buford of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department said.
“What Ivan did was wonderful. He stepped where a lot of people would have continued driving down the road, and he made a huge positive impact in this young girls life,” Deputy David Cuneo said.
The 16-year-old and Crisostomo were reunited on Thursday, where she thanked him for helping her.
“Ivan himself is a hero for saving me,” Allen told FOX40. “Even though he doesn’t think it.”
Allen says she’ll always be grateful to Crisostomo for giving her a second chance at a better life. However, Crisostomo says he considers helping people part of his everyday duties.
“We, as mailmans (sic), we have a duty, as a human beings, being there, knowing the people,” he said. “We have a kinda different responsibility a little bit with our neighbors and with the people we serve. That’s how I see it.”