An Arizona girl may have thwarted a kidnapping last week by using a “code word” made precisely by her family for such dire situations, according to authorities.
Officials with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department said they were alerted Wednesday afternoon to “an attempted luring” in the North Pecan Creek neighborhood of San Tan Valley, near Gantzel and Ocotillo Roads, according to a statement posted to Facebook.
The mother of a 10-year-old girl said her daughter called her with chilling news that day, telling her through tears of a man who attempted to kidnap her, according to Fox 10.
“She told me that a guy tried to take her,” Brenda James told the news station.
According to police, the unidentified child said she was at a park, along with a friend, when the nightmare unfolded. She said a man “driving a white SUV” approached them before trying to lure her out of the area.
“The man told the girl that her brothers were in a serious accident and she needed to go with him,” authorities said. “The child asked the man what the ‘code word’ was, but he did not know it and drove off.”
Warning:On Wednesday, November 7th, a Pinal County deputy responded to a home in the North Pecan Creek neighborhood…
The girl’s mother said she never expected the child to ever be in a situation that would require the use of the word, but expressed relief that the plan—which could’ve easily saved her daughter’s life—was put into place.
“I never thought it would be used, but I’m proud of her for remembering that and knowing to use that,” James said.
The sheriff commended the family for coming up with the potentially life-saving idea, and urged others with children to do the same.
“Kudos to the parents of this child for having a code word and talking about to their children about stranger danger,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb. “We hope by putting this out, it will encourage parents to have that conversation and create a plan with their children, so they know what to do if they are in that situation.”
As officials investigated the report, they said other children in the neighborhood reported seeing the same SUV in the neighborhood, “circling the park several times a day.”
The suspect is described as a “white male, possibly in his 40s, with a short beard.”
Police warned the community to keep their guard up, and believe the SUV to look “similar to a Ford Explorer.”
Anyone with information regarding the case or other similar incidents in the area are urged to call the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office at 520-866-5111.
[Feature Photo: Pixabay]