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Teen trying to get back to normal after kidnapping

Published September 3, 2012 9:05 pm

Nevada • "Being sad and being all broken isn't going to help anything," girl says.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Henderson, Nev. • A 17-year-old Henderson girl who was kidnapped last week and held for about 20 hours in her captors' apartment said she's grateful to be back with her family and plans to return to class at Green Valley High School on Tuesday.

Melissa Duran, whom police found unharmed about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, said she's ready to put the harrowing ordeal behind her.

"Being sad and being all broken isn't going to help anything," she told KLAS-TV. "I might as well keep a positive attitude."

Duran answered a knock on the door at her family's house about 7:30 a.m. Friday. She said a man threw sand in her eyes and a struggle ensued before a second man ran up and helped pull her into a getaway car.

Her 11-year-old brother tried to intervene.

"I was going to try to hit one of the guys," said Kevin Duran. "But he reached behind his back as if he had a gun and said, 'Don't come closer. Don't call the police.'"

The captors later called Duran's parents and demanded a ransom for her return, Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul said, adding that authorities are investigating whether the money was the true motivation.

Duran said she was bound, blindfolded and threatened by the kidnappers but drew strength when she overheard her name on TV, the subject of a widespread Amber Alert.

Hours later, she said she heard a "boom-boom" on the door as a SWAT team burst into the apartment, calling out her name and whisking her away. She was frightened but not hurt.

"I'm safe. My family is safe, and that's really all that matters," Duran said.

Alejandro Sanchez-Sanchez, 25, and Cesar Sanchez, 30, both of Las Vegas, were arrested on charges of kidnapping and extortion after being found nearby, police said. They remain without bail in the Henderson jail and await an initial court appearance Tuesday.

The two suspects worked for Duran's father and had recently been fired from his landscaping business, family members said.