California construction worker Colin Blevin almost called in sick on the morning he ended up helping rescue a missing 1-year-old boy
California construction worker Colin Blevin says he almost called in sick on the morning he ended up helping save a missing baby from the child’s accused abductor.
“My hip was hurting real bad,” Blevin tells PEOPLE. “But I needed to get work done.”
So to work he went on Monday — where, according to him and to police, he crossed paths with a man who had allegedly stolen a car and a 1-year-old boy earlier that morning some 90 miles away.
Blevin, 44, says it was about 7 a.m. and he was arriving to work at Ciarra Construction in San Jose, California, when he spotted a Honda Accord blocking the entranceway. He says he asked the driver, 44-year-old Raymond Randy Gutierrez, to move the vehicle.
That’s when he noticed a baby in a car seat in the back.
“He moved the car and I pulled in,” Blevin says. “The back door was cracked open and I saw a baby. I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know initially the baby was in danger and there was an AMBER Alert.”
Blevin says he realized quickly that something was off about the other man and the child he had with him.
After he pulled in, Blevin says he got out of his car and walked over to lock the gate when he saw Gutierrez allegedly attempting to break into another car. At the same time, a local woman living with her husband next to the company’s yard approached him and said that Gutierrez had allegedly tried to pawn off the baby onto her.
“The lady tells me quietly, ‘Help me save this baby,’ ” Blevin says. “She said, ‘You have to save this baby. The guy tried to give it to me.’ I looked into the car and there is this beautiful chunky baby looking at me. The baby [was] calm, clean, with a bottle on his chest. I thought, ‘What is going on here?’ “
The woman, whom Blevin identified as Mamas Ramirez, spoke out to local TV station KSBW.
“We asked ‘Whose baby is this?’ [Gutierrez] said, ‘Just take care of the baby and let me get out of here,’ ” Ramirez said. (PEOPLE could not reach her for comment.)
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According to investigators, Gutierrez had allegedly stolen the Accord he was driving that morning from a driveway in Soledad, California, south of San Jose.
Soledad’s deputy police chief, Damon Wasson, tells PEOPLE that the missing boy’s father had left his car running outside his home about 5 a.m. and gone back in the house to retrieve something when the car and the boy were taken.
At Blevin’s work in San Jose later that morning, Gutierrez allegedly knocked on Ramirez’s home and told her he had the baby in the car and “he [didn’t] know what to do with babies,” Wasson says.
After Blevin spoke to Ramirez, he confronted Gutierrez, he says, and asked him whose baby it was.
“He said a lady gave him the car and left the baby in the car,” Blevin recalls. “And right away I thought that makes no sense. The baby was well taken care of and this guy was dirty, skinny and jittery. I thought, ‘There is no way the baby belongs to this man. There is no way this man should be in charge of a baby.’ “
Blevin says he grabbed the car seat by the handle and told the man, “You are not leaving here with the baby.” He took the boy out of the backseat and called 911. Gutierrez then fled in the Accord.
According to Wasson, responding officers figured out Gutierrez was likely responsible shortly after they arrived at the scene.
“The homeless people knew who he was,” he says. “They knew him and didn’t like him and didn’t want him around. When they saw him with a baby, it got their radar up and their only concern was getting the baby away from him.”
Gutierrez was arrested a few hours later in nearby Salinas, California, on suspicion of vehicle theft, kidnapping, child endangerment and possession of stolen property, Wasson says.
He was arraigned Wednesday and remains in custody. He has not yet entered a plea and it was not immediately clear if he has retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
The intervention of Blevin and Ramirez at the scene has earned wide plaudits, though Blevin says he’s still processing everything himself.
“Everyone is saying what could have happened, and that is what scared me,” Blevin says. “I have been very emotional since it happened. When the cop said, ‘This is the AMBER Alert baby,’ I thought, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I was able to help a little kid and his family and that is a life highlight right there.”
“I just wish people could realize that there are bad folks out there,” Wasson adds. “If it wasn’t for those folks stepping in, who knows how this thing could have turned out?”
“This was the kind of ending we always look for,” he says. “This was a win for our side.”