Vacationing Marion County deputy helps rescue kids at center of Amber Alert

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- A Marion County Sheriff’s deputy’s keen eye helped rescue two kids while she was on vacation.

Late Tuesday night, Natasha Mendelsohn was driving back from vacation through South Dakota when she and her mother remarked on the lone out-of-town cars they saw every few minutes.

“It was 10 o'clock at night and it was kind of hard not to notice a vehicle passing you,” said Mendelsohn. “But I also out of habit just scan vehicles and plates anyways.”

Specifically, Mendelsohn remembers the last car she saw was a white Pontiac with Washington plates before her husband’s phone beeped with a notification.

“We thought it was a severe weather alert that was going off on his phone,”  said Mendelsohn. “When he opened his phone, he said, ‘Oh it’s an Amber Alert. It’s for a white Pontiac.’ My mother and  Ijust looked at each other and gasped and were like, ‘Oh my God, that’s the car that just passed us.’”

Without thinking, Natasha says she sped up while they called 911.

“It didn’t take anything for me to catch up to him,” said Mendelsohn. “He was not that far ahead of us. And sure enough, I continued to pass him because I didn’t want to be blatantly obvious that I was checking out his car. But as we approached, I noticed it was a white, 2-door Pontiac, it was a Washington plate and the plate was correct.”

Inside was 38-year-old Paul Brown and his two children.

They knew from reading the Amber Alert that 3-year-old Chance Brown has a life-threatening medical condition and could be in danger.

Fortunately, Mendelsohn says, Brown got off on an exit right near a local police station.

He was arrested.

“I cried,” said Mendelsohn. “It was more, tears of happiness that we knew that these children were now safe. Obviously we don’t know the circumstances of why things were happening the way they were happening.”

When Natasha got home, she shared the experience on Facebook, not as an invitation for praise, but a call to action.

“More people can help other people just by being aware of your surroundings and paying attention to what’s going on around you,” said Mendelsohn. “And had we not taken the quick second to look at that vehicle, we may not have been able to help the way we did.”

Paul Brown was charged with abuse of or cruelty to a minor.