JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has identified the woman accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old girl and leading police on a high-speed chase, resulting in the child’s death, as Pamela Cabrera.
Action News Jax has confirmed that the 5-year-old was Cabrera’s daughter named Vanity.
JSO jail records show the 32-year-old Jacksonville woman was booked into the Duval County jail at 1:41 a.m. Friday. Records also show she faces charges of vehicular homicide of a human being, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement at a high speed, and two battery charges.
Police said they received a call Thursday evening about a reported kidnapping in progress in the area of Dunn Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard.
While officers were headed to the Northside after receiving the call, an officer in the area came across Cabrera’s vehicle at a traffic light and tried to approach.
The woman saw the officer and sped off, according to JSO, and a police pursuit began.
JSO said several officers followed her vehicle for approximately 30 miles from Dunn Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard, then Interstate 95 South, proceeding through Jacksonville over the Fuller Warren Bridge, before ending at I-95 South and 9B.
Police said they reached speeds up to 90 mph during the chase on I-95.
The high-speed chase ended when officers said Cabrera attempted to exit 9B and drove off the ramp into a pond.
Several officers immediately took off their gear and jumped into the pond and captured the woman, but did not see Vanity.
A dive team and crews with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department worked together to search for her daughter who was ultimately found dead outside of the vehicle at the bottom of the retention pond, JSO said.
“It’s so much promise in a little girl who’s just that young,” a neighbor said.
She told Action News Jax Vanity was always happy and full of life every time she saw her.
“She was so full of energy over there. And you know, 5-year-olds are always kind of carefree,” she said.
Court records show Cabrera has a history of mental illness, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and that DCF took Vanity in April 2020, turning her over to her aunt, Cabrera’s sister.
Court records also show a Tampa judge ruled Cabrera was not competent to care for Vanity.
The neighbor Action News Jax talked to believes she saw Vanity and Cabrera just a few days ago.
“I did see her maybe a day or two ago and she was outside with, I guess was her mother,” she said.
2020 court records show a judge ordered Cabrera to be committed to a mental health treatment facility with DCF.
Records also show Cabrera has faced criminal battery charges out of Tampa including an arrest for spitting on a police officer. At least one case was dismissed by the court due to Cabrera’s diagnosed mental illness.
The neighbor we spoke to says her heart goes out to everyone involved.
“It’s an awful situation. I can’t imagine being in their shoes right now. I just want to pray for them and send my well-wishes and warm thoughts and prayers,” she said.
Cabrera is expected to appear before a judge Friday at 1 p.m.
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