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APD Officer Volunteers His Time to Find Kidnapped Child

Friday's Hero: Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Officer Chris J. Poccia

February 5, 2016

Albuquerque- Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized Albuquerque Police Department Officer Chris J. Poccia for volunteering his time after his shift ended to help search for a young girl who  was kidnapped during a carjacking.  His dedication and compassion helped locate and bring a little girl safely back to her family and earns him the prestigious honor of being this week’s Friday’s Hero.

On the night of January 2, 2016, young Caraline Leon-Alcocar was seated in the back of her mother’s car when suddenly, a carjacker jumped into the vehicle and speed off with Caraline still in the back seat.  The car was found abandoned shortly after; however, Caraline was nowhere to be found. This prompted an Amber Alert and a city-wide search for her.

Officer Poccia was wrapping up his 8 hour shift at the Northwest Area Command when he decided to stay on duty to join the search for little Caraline.  He worked with the civilian group, Guardians of the Children, to go door to door in search of her. Officer Poccia was committed to do whatever it took to find Caraline in the middle of the night despite near freezing temperatures.

Officer Poccia was slowly patrolling near a  parking lot at 1:00 AM when his spotlight came across a small glimpse of purple. He recalled  he had been told was the color of the little girl’s coat. Officer Poccia got out of his car to discover the little girl sitting alone cold and afraid. He instantly started comforting her, wrapped Caraline in his arms to help warm her and called for paramedics. She was then taken by the emergency personnel to the hospital for further evaluation.  After Officer Poccia had been cleared from the scene, he went to the hospital to check on Caraline and returned a small cross that she left behind.

Officer Chris J. Poccia exemplifies the professionalism and commitment Albuquerque Police officers have when protecting the community. Officer Poccia’s determination to safely return little Caraline to her family earned him the honor of being the City of Albuquerque’s Friday’s Hero.

The case to find the kidnapper and thief is still a very active investigation. APD is asking anyone with information or who may remember something from that night to please come forward and call (505) 242-COPS. The $5,000 reward offered by Mayor Berry is still available for information leading to an arrest in this case.