A Code Word Hero

10-year-old girl being praised for stopping possible kidnapper.


10-year-old girl being praised for stopping possible kidnapper.

Raquel Perry, Reporter

A 10-year-old girl from Arizona is being praised after she outsmarted a kidnapper by asking him for a code word.

According to the release, the unnamed girl was walking with a friend near a park in the neighborhood at 3:45 am when a man drove up next to her in a white van and said that her brother was in a “serious accident”. He then insisted that the girl come with him. The girl asked the stranger for the “code word” to see if her parents really sent him, and when he did not respond, the girl ran away to her grandmother as the man panicked and drove off. “I went like, ‘What’s the code word?’ And he just kind of froze his face and drove off,” she explained.

The girl’s mother explained that the family came up with a code word so that their kids would know who and who cannot pick them up. “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,” the girl’s mother, Brenda James, told ABC News in an exclusive interview. The family is being praised for their idea and police departments are hoping that other families would do the same. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told ABC News, “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.”

Police officers are currently searching for the suspect who is a white man, possibly in his 40s, with a short beard. Children at the park reported seeing the white SUV daily, according to the sheriff’s office. If anyone has any information on the suspect, call the sheriff’s office at 520-866-5111.