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Teens notice woman in a nearby car mouthing something to them and immediately dial 911

Alert teens notice distress signals, heroically rescue kidnapped woman.

Teens notice woman in a nearby car mouthing something to them and immediately dial 911
Cover Image Source: YouTube | ABC News

As global challenges mount, staying alert to our surroundings is more important than ever. Even subtle signs can be a call for help or a sign to take note of.

This was exemplified by two alert teens who saved a woman's life a decade ago. The then-19-year-old Aaron Arias and 17-year-old Jamal Harris revealed that they were driving down Dallas to pick up one of their friends when they noticed a young woman in the backseat of a car beside them. From the passenger seat, Harris noticed the woman and found her "attractive." To their surprise, the woman appeared to be mouthing words at them. NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth reported that Harris immediately realized the girl was asking for help.

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As per the 911 tape of the incident retrieved by the publication, the teens first made eye contact with the woman and then, they saw a serious expression on her face. They saw her mouthing "help me" from the car. Assuming it to be a joke, the boys considered ignoring it. However, when they saw the driver, they sensed something suspicious. They immediately dialed 911 and followed the vehicle. "Yes, I'm on the highway...I'm witnessing a robbery; not a robbery... a kidnapping," Aaron Arias told a Kaufman County Sheriff's Office dispatcher. "It's me and another guy, so we're checking out the girl in the backseat because, we're like, 'OK, she's kind of attractive.' And then, all of the sudden, you know, the guy is turned back, looking at us," they told the 911 operator. 

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The teens noted the man's erratic driving, sensing that something was definitely amiss. According to Arias, the woman looked panicked and was "saying, 'Help me,' or something, whispering it." After following the car for 20 minutes, the vehicle was cornered by authorities. The driver was identified as Charles Atkins Lewis, a kidnapper who had been responsible for abducting many women. The woman was safely rescued and expressed her gratitude by hugging the teens. "She hugs us...I would describe it as the best hug I have ever gotten," said Arias. 


Arias and Jamal are celebrated as heroes for their bravery and vigilance. When asked if he thinks of himself as a hero, Arias said, "She says we saved her life. I guess you could say we did. But I don't want to be that person who says they're a hero." 


Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 29, 2023. It has since been updated.

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