December 8, 2018

Parents who have young children have to check this story out.

Recently, an unnamed 10-year-old girl evaded a would-be kidnapper in Arizona by quizzing him on what the “code word” was when he asked her to get in his vehicle, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona.

A few months prior, the girl’s mother, Brenda James, decided to devise a code word system that only she and her daughter would know after James had heard a related story.

James told her daughter to ask any strangers who claimed to be familiar faces the code word in order to test who they were or who they claimed to be. The mother never thought this system would ever have to be used, though.

“We came up with a code word, and this one time, it saved my daughter’s life,” James told FOX 10. “I’m proud of her for remembering that and knowing to use that.”

The terrifying incident unfolded around 3:45 p.m. on Nov. 7 near a park in San Tan Valley, just 45 miles east of Phoenix, FOX 2 reported.

James’s daughter was walking with a friend in the park when a white SUV pulled up to them.

A man got out, approached the girls, and said that James’s daughter’s brother had gotten into a severe accident and that she should get into his vehicle and go with him.


Smartly, the girl recalled her mother’s words and demanded that the stranger tell her the code word.

Sure as daylight, that proposition was enough to rattle the would-be kidnapper, and as quickly as he had shown up, he drove off—all thanks to the code word system she and her mother had devised.

“My daughter called me in tears crying upset, and she told me that some guy tried to take her,” James told Good Morning America. “My daughter was prepared and it didn’t happen and she’s at home safe.”

Pinal County Sheriff’s Office learned that the man had been spotted roaming around near the park often by other children in the neighborhood.

“The SUV was described as possibly similar to a Ford Explorer. We are asking people to be on alert and call PCSO […] with any information,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote in a statement.

Warning:On Wednesday, November 7th, a Pinal County deputy responded to a home in the North Pecan Creek neighborhood…

Posted by Pinal County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, November 8, 2018

Posted by Pinal County Sheriff's Office on Friday, August 3, 2018

As the would-be kidnapper had covered much of his face during most of their interaction, little was known about him except that he is in his 40s and had a short beard.

“Kudos to the parents of this child for having a code word and talking about to their children about stranger danger,” said local 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.”

This story highlights the reality that there are dangers out there, as well as lurking child kidnappers that exist, who may even be in our own neighborhoods, and the importance of families implementing strategies, such as code words, with their kids.

Parents, this makes sense doesn’t it? Although we may all want to let our kids bask in the innocence of youth for as long as possible, it pays to be a little street smart these days, wouldn’t you agree? Do take care.

Illustration – Shutterstock | epiximages