Mother carjacked at gunpoint

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Mother with 4-year-old daughter carjacked at apartment complex

Nine months ago, 4-year-old Ava Castillo was killed when robbers tried to steal her mother's purse. The family had just returned from a trip to the store. Three men were later caught and charged with capital murder and are scheduled to appear in court this week.

Saturday, Gladys Martinez said she and her own 4-year-old daughter were confronted by carjackers.

"I thought history was about to repeat itself," she said.

Martinez lives in the same complex where Ava Castillo was shot and killed last November. The car jacking Martinez said happened a few spaces from where the little girl died.

"A girl approached me and asked for a dollar. I said no, and then two guys walked toward me," she said.

Her 4-year-old daughter, Arianna, was in the back seat of her 2002 Ford Escape.

"One of the guys came around, and I felt something against my head. I said, 'Are you kidding,' and then I saw it was a gun."

She said she screamed for help, but he pressed the gun harder against her head.

"All I could think about my little girl. He said shut up and give me the keys. I did, grabbed my child and my purse and ran toward home," she said.

Martinez, like many people, was stunned and traumatized by the murder of a child. It changed many of her routines. She took safety precautions when she returned late from work.

"Now, the same thing nearly happened to us," she said. "When the robbers saw my daughter, they didn't care."

Three males she believed robbed her, describing them as older teenagers or in their 20's.

"One had dreadlocks, the other a fade haircut, and there was a third one, as well as the teenaged girl," she said.

Her 2002 silver Ford Escape is gone, but that's not what disturbs her the most.

"I want all four of them caught, because I can't even walk outside because of fear."

She says her daughter is frightened of "the bad men" coming back, and had nightmares last night.

The apartment complex has security cameras she hopes will help identify the suspects. They were added, she said, after Ava Castillo lost her life. She also filed a report with the Sheriff's Office, and was assigned a case number.

Martinez doesn't plan to remain in the apartment, but is moving in with a relative because of concerns for the safety of her daughter and herself.

"They know who I am," she said, "because of paperwork I had in the car."

Most of all, she said she wants others to know that the people who did this to her are still at large and dangerous.

"I want to warn others so this doesn't happen to them. Be careful. It could be you or your daughter."

The license plate on the stolen 2002 Silver Ford Escape is FMK 2333. If you see it, call authorities.

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