One of most parents’ worst nightmares is their kids not coming back from school. And they feel that fear for real reasons. Each year, 460,000 kids go missing. 5,000 of those are kidnapped.
Brenda James didn’t want her kid to be a part of that statistic.
She and her kids had a talk. They came up with a plan to make sure that they won’t go with people they’re not supposed to go with. She got the idea after reading an article about the use of code words.
In an interview, she shared:
“They know who can pick them up and who can’t. 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.”
Brenda’s worst nightmare came true on one Wednesday afternoon.
Her daughter Maddison was walking with a friend near a park. Then, a man pulled up next to them.
According to the police:
“The man told the girl that her [brother was] in a serious accident and she needed to go with him.”
Even though the little girl was frightened, she managed to think properly.
Maddison didn’t just say yes and leave with him. Even though she was very worried about her brother, she first asked the man what the code word was.
And after hearing that question, the man froze a bit before driving off. If it wasn’t for the code word, something bad could have happened to her.
After that, Maddison called her mom.
“My daughter called me crying upset and she told me that some guy tried to take her. He told her his brother had been in a serious accident and she needed to come home with him.”
After hearing her story, Brenda immediately got in her car and drove home.
Fortunately, nothing bad happened to her daughter. She managed to escape a possible kidnapping.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office praised the girl’s parents for teaching her how to deal with the danger of being approached by a stranger.
Sheriff Mark Lamb said:
“The mother of this child did an awesome job teaching a code word to her child, and that potentially saved that girl’s life.”
They are encouraging other parents to do the same thing.
“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.”
Multiple kids have reported seeing the man driving around the area several times a day.
It was hard to get a detailed sketch of him because he covered most of his face with his hand. He did it to conceal any identifying features. However, based on the police’s investigation, the man was described to be in his 40s. He was wearing a short beard and was driving a vehicle similar to a Ford Explorer.
Watch Good Morning America‘s interview below to hear Maddison talk about her frightening experience and using a code word!
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