HUDSON, Fla. — Retired Navy veteran, entrepreneur and now filmmaker Gina Garcia is proud of all she has accomplished despite being abducted at 8 years old.
What You Need To Know
- Gina Garcia is best known locally for her thriving tricycle business
- At 8 years old, Garcia was abducted at knifepoint while visiting an Orlando bookstore
- Garcia's film 'Untold' will premiere in September in Hollywood at the Chinese Theatre
- She is using the film to tell her story of survival
Garcia is best known locally for her thriving tricycle business.
"There is a little lever right here," said Garcia about one of her scooters.
"Because people didn't want to peddle, I started peddling everything with electric," she added.
Her business' kangaroo logo is in honor of her mother and also symbolizes her survival.
"Lionel Playworld, which was their mascot, was a kangaroo which, when I was abducted, I was abducted from the parking lot across the street from," she said.
At 8 years old, Garcia was abducted at knifepoint while visiting an Orlando bookstore.
"He said he was with security," Garcia recalled. "He showed me a badge. He said, 'I have books. I can get them for you. They are in my car.'"
For three hours she says she was tortured and sexually assaulted by the same man authorities believe killed Adam Walsh in Hollywood, Florida 2 1/2 months later. Walsh is the son of 'America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh.
Garcia says she escaped by jumping out of the suspect's moving vehicle.
"Ninety-nine percent of children that are abducted are killed within the first 24 hours." Garcia said she is part of the 1% who made it.
"I don't need him to ever be found," she added.
Her abductor was never brought to justice., but through therapy and support she now identifies as a survivor.
"I had amazing mentors," she said.
Garcia went back to school for filmmaking. Writer and director Patty Jenkins, best known for the Wonder Women films, took Garcia under her wing to release the film about her survival story.
"Patty told me to jump and tell your story," said Garcia. "If I could jump out of a car at 8 years old, why can't I jump and tell my own story."
It's a project she hopes will give others the freedom to engage in dialogue about healing.
"Now my goal with my film and with Trikaroo and this community — how can we make things better?" she said.
Garcia's film 'Untold' will premiere in September in Hollywood at the Chinese Theatre.
Trikaroo is expanding with a new location in Hudson.
The grand opening is scheduled for October.