Two sharp-eyed Transportation Safety Administration officers are credited with saving a young woman who was beaten and abducted before her kidnappers tried to take her across state lines.
The officers, Ray and Danielle, did not reveal their last names.
“I believe we saved her life that day,” Ray told WFOR-TV.
She came to Miami International Airport on July 5 alongside two men and two women. She was obviously terrified, Danielle said, and used a scarf to conceal injuries to her face.
“When she came closer I realized she was black and blue on both sides of her face, her forehead,” Ray recalled. “I noticed her shoulder looked like she had a big rug burn.”
The officers realized the woman had likely been abducted. When they took her aside, “She told us basically to help her and to take her away from the people that she was traveling with,” Danielle said.
Her vacation friends became her captors. They beat her at their hotel, then forced her to withdraw money from her bank account and took her to the airport. The group was attempting to board a flight bound for Newark, N.J., when Ray and Danielle saw her distress.
“She told us they threatened to kill her if she told anybody,” Ray said.
The facial injuries came from the beating, and the rug burn was from when her attackers dragged her across a floor.
TSA officers detained the four people. Melissa Pineiro was charged with kidnapping, robbery, false imprisonment and battery, and Tori Beato was charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, battery and theft, according to WFOR.
The two men were released without charges.
Mark Hatfield, head of security for the TSA at Miami International, said officers are trained to spot suspicious activity to help thwart possible terrorist attacks.
“They saw stress, they saw fear, and it turned out that this woman was in really dire danger,” he said.