The hero of this story is 13-year-old Dashawn Butler, who would have ample excuse to be an unruly teenager, having grown up without a father figure. His dad died when the teen was still an infant. Thankfully, the young man has still been surrounded by a loving family, including his mum Nicky Lopez and her new partner Maria.
Towards the end of the 2018 summer break, Dashawn asked Maria if she could drop him off at a local mall close to their home in Tucson, Arizona. He was excited to hang out with his friends for one of the final times before school started again – and Maria agreed to give him a lift.
Maria dropped him off at the Park Place shopping mall to meet his friends. She handed over some pocket money and told the teen she’d be back in three hours’ time. He agreed and left the car. Maria took a couple of minutes to organize herself, then spotted her son in an unusual situation.