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11-year-old girl stops potential kidnapping attempt using family's 'code word' system

11-year-old girl stops potential kidnapping attempt using family's 'code word' system

"There's always that special situation where there might be somebody they don't know or don't know well, so that's why we came up with a code word," the family explained.

Arizona police praised a family's clever way of teaching their daughter what to do when approached by strangers after the nifty trick saved the child from a potential kidnapping attempt. In a warning posted to Facebook after the child's narrow escape, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office revealed that a deputy responded to a home in the North Pecan Creek neighborhood to investigate an attempted luring. "At 3:45 p.m., an 11-year-old girl was walking with a friend near a park in the neighborhood when a man, driving a white SUV, pulled up next to them. The man told the girl that her [brother was] in a serious accident and she needed to go with him," the post read.



 

While most individuals might've gotten into the car without a second thought due to the nature of news they just received, the little girl kept a level head and asked the stranger what the "code word" was. He obviously didn't know the code word and drove off, leaving the child alone. "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."



 

At a press conference following the incident, the girl's mother, Brenda James, revealed that she got a tearful call from her daughter moments after the stranger "tried to take her." "My daughter called me crying upset and she told me that 'some guy tried to take her,'" James said. "He told her her brother had been in a serious accident and she needed to come home with him."



 

"So I just kind of calmed her down and she told me that some guy tried to take her and all my thoughts went out the window at that point and I got in my car and I drove home," she added. Speaking to Good Morning America, the girl shared what was going through her mind during the encounter. "I was terrified," she said. "I was terrified that my brother was in an actual accident, that he could be hurt." The girl added that she was also aware the man might have bad intentions. When she asked him what the code word was, she said, "He just kind of froze, his face. And drove off."



 

"I was scared," she added, "because if I had popped in, I don't know what he would have done to me." James explained that the family came up with the code word system to save their children from such situations. "They know who can pick them up and who can't," she said of her children. "But there's always that special situation where there might be somebody they don't know or don't know well, so that's why we came up with a code word."



 

Saying "kudos" to the parents for "having a code word and talking about to their children about 'stranger danger,'" Sheriff Mark Lamb praised the family's clever tactic. "The mother of this child did an awesome job teaching a code word to her child, and that potentially saved that girl's life," he said. "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." Authorities revealed that other children also saw that vehicle in the neighborhood, "circling the park several times a day."



 

Callahan Walsh, an expert with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, explained that children usually get away from potential threats due to "something they did on their own volition. Eighty percent of the time children are able to get away from the would-be abductor is because of something they did on their own volition. And that's kicking and screaming or using the code word."

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