An 11-year-old girl may have prevented her own kidnapping when she asked a stranger who asked her to get into a white van for the “code word".
The unnamed girl and her friend were walking near a park in North Pecan Creek, Arizona, when a man, driving a white SUV pulled up beside them, Pinal County Police revealed in a statement.
In a Facebook post, the police warn parents and children in the area to be vigilant after a report of a an attempted luring.
The man told the girl that her brothers were in a serious accident and she needed to go with him. The child asked the man what the “code word” was, but he did not know it and drove off.
Brenda James, the young girl’s mother, told Fox10 that they had come up with a code word for just such occurrences.
We came up with a code word, and this one time, it saved my daughter's life. She told me that a guy tried to take her.
I never thought it would be used, but I'm proud of her for remembering that and knowing to use that.
Sheriff Mark Lamb praised James for putting things in place to ensure her child was as safe as possible.
“Kudos to the parents of this child for having a code word and talking about to their children about stranger danger,” 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.
Children in the neighbourhood have seen the SUV in the neighbourhood, circling the park several times a day. The girl says the man covered his face with his hand when talking to her, and has been described as a white male, possibly in his 40s, with a short beard.
The police are urging people to look out for the SUV, which has been described as long like Ford Explorer.
We are asking people to be on alert and call PCSO at 520-866-5111 with any information.