Not all heroes wear cape. In the case of the 16-year-old Crystal, she wouldn’t be here today without the selfless heroic deed of a passing postal carrier named Ivan Crisostomo. If not for Ivan’s strong sense of responsibility and compassionate heart, Crystal could still be missing today.
According to her mother, Stacey, her daughter was gone missing after being lured to Sacramento. Apparently, Crystal was tricked by someone she thought was a friend. Forcibly, she was taken and thrown in a world of drugs and sex trafficking.
Fortunately, Crystal was attentive to her surroundings. When she saw an opportunity to escape, Crystal did not think twice to seize it. While the car she was held captive in was passing through the neighborhood of Oak Park, Crystal jumped out of the car. In the process, she was able to grab one of her kidnapper’s phones and ran for her life.
It was at this moment that a postal carrier, Ivan Crisostomo, stopped short on his tracks upon hearing odd sounds coming from the front yard of one of the houses on his designated route. Ivan listened closely to find out where the sound was coming from and discovered Crystal hiding behind a tree. Seeing Crystal hiding and crying in sheer terror, Ivan knew the teenager desperately needed his help.
According to Ivan, Crystal was cowering in fear and couldn’t find the courage to speak. But after assuring the distressed teenager that she is safe with him, Crystal finally called her mom.
“I heard this crying when I came out of the vehicle, so I approached her and I asked her… She was afraid, she didn’t want to talk,” Ivan narrated in an interview.
“Until she handed the phone to Ivan and we spoke with him, we had no idea what was going on,” Stacey, Crystal’s concerned mom shared. “We had no idea where she was or anything.”
After calling Stacey and the police, Ivan reassured Crystal that he wouldn’t leave her until they arrive. Ivan also reminded the traumatized teenager that if her kidnappers were to return, they’d have to go through him first.
“Terror … She was frantic … I didn’t know what was going on, I couldn’t even talk to her she was so upset and that’s when I told her she had to reach out to someone for safety and she gave the phone to Ivan and he instantly kicked into gear and told me he’d save my daughter,” Stacey added.
It was only when Stacey and the police authorities arrived that they learned the horrible ordeal Crystal experienced in the hands of her kidnappers.
“She started to point to her arm, saying: ‘They were putting things in me. They were putting things in me. They are coming to get me,’” Ivan narrated.
According to Crystal she was drugged, tortured, and abused for about three months before her great escape.
“I just cried all the time and prayed that I’d get to see my mum again,” Crystal shared.
Meanwhile, the Sacramento Sheriff Department commended the brave and helpful postal carrier for staying with Crystal despite the danger posed on them.
“The area where she was found is a notoriously high crime area, lots of drugs, prostitution, gangs in that area, so Ivan standing by with her really provided that comfort, that safety and security until officers could arrive,” Latoya Buford of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department explained.
“What Ivan did was wonderful. He stepped where a lot of people would have continued driving down the road, and he made a huge positive impact in this young girls life,” Another police authority, Deputy David Cuneo, expressed admiration to Ivan’s heroic deed.
As of now, authorities are yet to discover the culprit behind Crystal’s horrifying experience. But one thing is for sure, the 16-year-old girl has been saved and is ready to face a bright future.
“Ivan himself is a hero for saving me. Even though he doesn’t think it.” Crystal said, expressing her gratitude to her hero.
For Ivan, what he did is not a big deal. He simply helped someone who needed him just like what he believes everyone should do. “The way I see her she has a wonderful future ahead. She’s doing so well, I’m happy. I’m really happy,” Ivan concluded.
Watch the video below to learn more how a humble postman proved to the world that heroism cannot only be seen in grand gestures. Sometimes all it takes to save a is a man with a compassionate and brave heart.
Photos and Video | KPIX CBS SF Bay Area