Fort Worth

Local Pastor Gave Police Tip That Led to Fort Worth Girl's Rescue

Fort Worth leaders and residents Sunday embraced a good Samaritan credited with leading police to a kidnapping victim and the man accused of snatching her from her mother's arms.

Jeff King is a care admissions pastor at Bear Creek Bible Church.

King received a hero's welcome in Fort Worth on Sunday evening.

"I feel like God allowed me to be a tool," he said.

King said when he found out that a childhood friend's little girl had been kidnapped, he knew he had to do something.

"When I went to help I was really flying blind," he said.

King said he asked a plain-clothed detective how he could help.

"He just said... look at parks, apartment buildings and hotels," King said.

King said he and a friend got a tip from someone to check out a hotel in Forest Hill.

The two did, but did not find anything.

They then ended up checking a second hotel: the Wood Springs Suites in Forest Hill.

"We had been checking parks all night and this was the second hotel we checked," King said. "I was just driving on the access road. It was right there and so I just kind of hit the break and turned in."

It was at the hotel, located approximately 12 miles away from where Salem Sabatka was kidnapped, that King spotted what appeared to be the suspect's car.

"We just looked at it and called police," he said.

Officers went inside a room and found the missing 8-year-old girl and the suspect.

"It was like an overjoying experience and it was crazy. It was adrenaline," King said.

King led a prayer at a press conference in Sabatka's neighborhood.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald were on hand and both expressed their gratitude to King and every resident who helped in the search for Salem.

"I have two boys and I would have wanted as many eyes looking out for my boys as possible," King said.

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