WEST PENSACOLA, FL – A brave 11 year-old young lady in Florida Tuesday managed to successfully fight off a would-be kidnapper while waiting for the school bus; the entire incident was caught on surveillance video, and the suspect was later tracked down by authorities and arrested, according to reports.
Jared Paul Stanga, 30, has been charged with attempted kidnapping of a child and aggravated assault and battery. Police also said that he was in possession of a knife.
At a news conference held after the arrest, Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons praised the little girl’s toughness and determination.
“She fought, and she never gave up,” he said.
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The incident – which was captured on a neighboring home’s surveillance camera – took place at 7 a.m., when the victim was waiting at a bus stop to go to school; she was playing with a “blue slime” toy when a white SUV pulls up and stops.
A man is seen getting out of the vehicle and proceeds to run toward the victim. He then grabs her and attempts to drag her back to the SUV, but while the victim is resisting the suspect stumbles and falls, and then runs back to his vehicle and flees the scene.
The victim, after fighting back against her would-be kidnapper and escaping, immediately ran home and informed her parents, who then called law enforcement; according to Sheriff Simmons, she handled herself like a pro, escaping with only minor scratches.
“This rarely, rarely happens,” Simmons said. “When I saw the video, I was just shocked that this happened here in Escambia County.”
Authorities used the surveillance video to track down Stanga at his home later that day; at the time of his arrest, his arms had some of the “blue slime” that the victim had been playing with on them, officials say. He had also allegedly attempted to alter the appearance of his vehicle by painting a chrome bumper black after a description had been released to the public.
The victim said that the driver of the same vehicle had attempted to speak with her two weeks prior to the attack, and that she had reported the incident to her parents and school principal.