They say that it is every parent’s worst nightmare when their child does not return home, but just imagine how the children themselves feel.
Well thankfully there are numerous tales of children who manage to escape kidnapping through incredible composure and bravery.
Let’s have a look at some of the times kids outsmarted their captors and gained their own freedom.
Barbara Ann Stewart
In August of 1978, Barbara Ann Stewart and her brother were walking home when a man grabbed Barbara.
The nine-year-old selflessly yelled for her brother to run to safety, and he did, as she was packed into the trunk of the car while being threatened with rape and murder.
Keeping calm and rational, Barbara searched the trunk and found a tyre iron. When the man pulled over she hit him in the head and ran until she found police, who were looking for her as he brother had reached her parents to raise the alarm.
Unfortunately her kidnapper was not captured.
On July 22, 2002, Erica Pratt was snatched by two men who drove up along side her and called her name.
The seven-year-old was driven 12 miles from her family home and held captive in a basement with her hands and feet bound, and a blindfold on her eyes.
The men who had taken her, eventually identified as 29-year-old James Burns and 23-year-old Edward Johnson, abducted her and demanded $150,000 they thought her family possessed from a life insurance policy.
Erica spent hours in the dark chewing through her binding, and once removed she felt around the dark room for the stairs. Once at the top she kicked her way through a panel of a locked wooden door and squeezed through, before then breaking a window and screaming for help.
Two boys heard her cries and brought police to the scene, Erica was reunited with her family less than 23 hours after being taken, while her captors were both eventually be sentenced to time in prison.
On September 24 of this year a 13-year-old boy was kidnapped in Deyang, China, and thrown into an abandoned house with his hands and feet tied, and a clear plastic bag over his head with a breathing hole.
Yi apparently recalled gangster films and followed the instructions of the men who took him, sitting quietly and listening to their conversations.
After hearing them leave he hopped around the building until he found an exit, and made his way onto the street where his was spotted by a driver.
Yi was freed and police arrested an unnamed suspect.
Back in 1994, Rebecca Savarese was held at gunpoint by a man who led the 12-year-old to his truck.
Rebecca bought herself time by pretending she could not breathe and then made a run for it, catching the would-be kidnapper off guard.
The youngster managed to get away and had spooked the attacker so badly that he jumped into his car, running two red lights as he fled the scene. One witness with a partial license plate number helped police capture 43-year-old Lewis Lent Jr.
Lent was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of murdering Jimmy Bernardo in the same year. While in prison he also confessed to two more child murders.
Girl Escapes Desert Torture
On September 10, 1991, an unnamed six-year-old girl was led away from her school and into the desert.
While in the wasteland the girl’s abductor, a man, forced her to dig her own grave, before then stripping the child naked and burying her up to the neck in dirt.
The girl was told to stay still as the man was going to fetch his camera. After he left the youngster managed to free herself from the shallow grave, and she located an employee of the National Park Service.
No arrests were ever made.
When Benjamin Brockway was just 12-years-old he was snatched while playing in his bike.
A man and a teenage boy approached Benjamin after he had stopped cycling for a few minutes. Benjamin and the ten argued, but he was throne into a pickup truck with his bike also stowed.
Allegedly the pair who kidnapped the boy had contemplated his release until they spotted a nearby police car, but Benjamin had a plan to keep himself alive.
He fed the men holding him captive information that his parents would pay for his release, all the while he was busy memorising every detail of his surroundings.
The kidnappers failed in their plan to ransom Benjamin, and after 20 hours on the run they dropped the boy off in a park.
With the vast array of information the little boy had memorised, police were able to trace the kidnappers.
24-year-old Eduardo Rios-Ruiz and 16-year-old Arturo Tapia were both arrested, tried, and sentenced for the ‘spur of the moment’ crime. Rios-Ruiz received 8–25 years in prison, while Tapia, as a juvenile, was given two years.
On June 6, 2003, Jeannette Tamyo found a stranger in her house who, after 30 minutes alone with the 9-year-old, moved his car into the garage.
Jeannette’s mother and brother were then attacked on their arrival, and the little girl was handcuffed inside a box on the back seat.
The girl was sexually assaulted and threatened with death many times across the next two days, but her will to survive was far from broken.
Jeannette got away by earning the trust of he man holding her captive. She was kind, and reinforced the fact she was a human child by bringing up her family numerous times.
She then told the man that she suffered from asthma and another disease, and that she required medicine to survive.
Her manipulation worked and she was dropped on a street corner, from there she ran to a convenience store and police were called. The child, still to see her tenth birthday, then recalled the directions followed when she was in the car, plus the man’s phone number after he had ordered pizza.
The information led to the arrest of 26-year-old David Montiel Cruz, who was sentenced to 102 years in prison from 2005.
When Midsi Sanchez was just eight-years-old in August of 2000, she demonstrated bravery beyond her years to escape abduction.
A man grabbed her and handcuffed her inside his car, driving round for two days and only giving the little girl beer or wine to stay hydrated.
110 miles from where she was taken, the driver parked in an industrial area in Santa Clara. The man stepped out of the vehicle but forgot his keys, so Midsi pounced.
She worked through the keys until one that unlocked her shackles was found, and when it was she made a dart for freedom by climbing out of the window.
The man gave chase but she hailed down a truck, persuading the kidnapper to flee. But eyewitness accounts led to the arrest of Curtis Dean Anderson, 39.
He received a 302 year sentence after confessing to six other child murders and links to one more. He died in 2009.
Willie Myrick was only ten when he was kidnapped on March 31, 2014, but his ability to stay calm and faith in God would see him return home.
The boy was grabbed after he had seen some money by a tree and went to pick it up. Myrick was then sworn at and threatened by the man who had put him inside a car in Atlanta, Georgia.
But he did not panic, no sir. The Christian child began singing a gospel song, “Every Praise” by Hezekiah Walker, knowing the noise was annoying his captor.
The plan worked incredibly quickly, and after three hours the man abandoned the kidnap and freed the boy. Sadly he got away and is presumed at large.
When nine-year-old Calysta Cordova failed to return home after school on January 19, 2012, it was clear to her family that something was wrong.
She had been bound and gagged by a man who had followed her and imprisoned her in his car, punching her repeatedly once she could not defend herself in any way.
After suffering car trouble Cordova’s kidnapper was forced to seek help. It proved the man’s downfall.
They were driven to a local store wher the youngster ran inside, asked to call her uncle but instead dialed 911.
She then is reported to have declared:
“I’m not going anywhere with you! I’m waiting for my mom!”
The man was arrested and identified as 29-year-old Jose Garcia, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison after it also transpired he had abused his own stepdaughter earlier on the same day.
Staying so calm and collected in such an abhorrent situation, these kids’ stories are all truly incredible.