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11-Year-Old Girl Praised For Bravely Fighting Off Kidnapper In Frightening Video

by : Hannah Smith on : 19 May 2021 14:06
11-Year-Old Girl Praised For Bravely Fighting Off Kidnapper In Frightening VideoEscambia County Sheriff's Office

An 11-year-old girl has been praised for her bravery after she fought off a man who tried to kidnap her as she waited for the school bus.

Video filmed from a home surveillance camera captured the scary incident in West Pensacola, Florida earlier this week, in which an armed man tries to grab the girl and drag her into his car.

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The incident happened at around 7am, with no one else around as the girl waited alone for her school bus. Thankfully, she knew exactly what to do and began to put up a fight, kicking and punching the man until he eventually gave up and ran back to his car before driving away.

Following the frightening kidnapping attempt, Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons praised the girl’s response. ‘Luckily, she fights,’ he said. ‘When I say fights, she struggles. She went limp, she’s kicking, she’s pushing, she’s punching. And she’s able to get free.’

‘She fought, and she never gave up,’ he told a news conference, adding that the 11-year-old had done everything right by resisting and running away to tell her parents, who immediately called the police.

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The sheriff told reporters that a man had been arrested, confirming that the suspect had been driving a white Dodge pickup truck and was armed with a knife.

NBC News reports that the girl had previously encountered the same man a few weeks earlier, when he had tried to speak to her in Spanish and made her feel ‘uncomfortable’. Follow that encounter, the girl had begun being escorted to the bus stop by her mother after reporting the incident to her school.

Surveillance video helped lead to the arrest of attempted kidnapper (Escambia County Sheriffs Office/Fox 13 Tampa Bay)Escambia County Sheriffs Office/Fox 13 Tampa Bay

Tuesday’s attempted kidnapping reportedly happened on the first day since the original encounter that her mum had not walked with her.

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Using the footage recorded by the home surveillance camera, investigators were able to track the suspect’s vehicle and quickly identified the would-be kidnapper as Jared Paul Stanga, a 30-year-old with an ‘extensive criminal history.’

He was taken into custody on charges of attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault and battery.

Sheriff Simmons told reporters that he had been taken aback by the incident, and attempted to reassure residents that attempting kidnappings like this were extremely rare in the area. ‘This rarely, rarely happens… when I saw the video, I was just shocked that this happened here in Escambia County,’ he said.

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  1. NBC News

    11-year-old girl fights back, escapes attempted abduction at Florida bus stop