Man traveling to country to raise awareness of veteran suicide stops kidnapping near Kansas state capital

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TOPEKA (KSNT) – A veteran traveling the country to raise awareness about veteran suicide stopped in Topeka on Thursday, unaware he would save the life of an elderly woman kidnapped while in her family’s car.

Darren Hafford is raising awareness across 50 states by doing 50 push-ups in 50 days on the steps of every state capitol. When he finished the challenge in Topeka on August 19, Hafford took photos of the Capitol and its surroundings to remember his trip. It was then that he noticed a woman in panic.

“She said, ‘Do you have a cell phone? Do you have a cell phone? ‘ I said yes and she said, ‘My car left, my mother left. My purse and my phone are all gone, ”Hafford said.

So Hafford took action and called the police. He decided to drive around the state house in the meantime to look for the car and luckily found it across the street. Someone who had taken the car was in the driver’s seat and the 86-year-old victim, the woman’s mother, was sitting next to him.

“I said hey, what are you doing in there and he said, ‘Oh, I’m just trying to help,'” Hafford said. “I was like no, you’re not trying to help. This car was not parked here, you moved this vehicle.

The driver, who has now been identified as David Baker, 54, attempted to flee. Hafford then confined the man until police arrived to arrest him. Today, the 86-year-old is safe and has been reunited with her family.

The family are eternally grateful to Hafford and want to promote his organization.

“Darren, we love you and I really appreciate your help. And you also saved my mother and my life, ”said Li Yang, the 86-year-old woman’s daughter.

To learn more about Hafford’s journey and for a link to his GoFundMe page, click here.


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