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10-Year-Old Girl Stops Her Own Potential Kidnapping By Asking For 'Code Word'

Caitlyn Clancey 23 Jan 2020

A 10-year-old girl has been praised for her quick thinking after she foiled her own potential kidnapping by asking for one simple thing: the code word.

As Good Morning America reported, Madison Raines of Pinal County, Arizona was able to scare off the man who had approached her in his car by using a simple stranger-danger tactic, one which police are encouraging other families to implement as well.

On the day of the attempted kidnapping, Madison was walking with a friend near a local park when a white SUV pulled up next to them.

YouTube | Good Morning America

According to a Pinal County Sheriff's Office press release, the man driving the vehicle told Madison that her brother had been in a serious accident and that she needed to get into his car and go with him.

"I was terrified," the young girl later shared with GMA. "I was terrified that my brother was in an actual accident, that he could be hurt."

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Hesitant to get into a stranger's vehicle, Madison remembered something she and her family had discussed regarding untrustworthy situations like these.

YouTube | Good Morning America

Rather than allowing herself to be lured into the SUV, Madison asked the driver what the "code word" was.

"He just kind of froze, his face," Madison recalled. "And drove off."

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The young girl called her mother, Brenda James, and tearfully told her about the stranger and the scary encounter.

YouTube | Good Morning America

"My daughter called me crying upset and she told me that 'some guy tried to take her'," James said. "I just kind of calmed her down and she told me that some guy tried to take her and all my thoughts went out the window at that point and I got in my car and drove home."

Madison added, "I was scared because if I had popped in [the man's car], I don't know what he would have done to me."

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James said that her children know who can and who can't pick them up without their parents present.

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"But," she added, "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."

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25% of children abduction cases are of kids who have been kidnapped by strangers.

Unsplash | Charlein Gracia

According to Kids Health, strangers will often try to lure these children into their vehicles with promises of rewards, like candy, or sometimes by pretending to be in need of the child's help finding their missing pet.

Some potential abductors make up an emergency, like in Madison's case, in order to make the child feel scared and more inclined to get into the car.

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Most children who escape from potential kidnappings are usually able to do so using quick-thinking tactics.

Unsplash | Noah Silliman

"Eighty percent of the time children are able to get away from the would-be abductor is because of something they did on their own volition," Callahan Walsh, an expert with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told GMA.

"And that's kicking and screaming or using the code word."

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James said she's encouraging Madison to tell her friends about their family code word so more children know about it.

Unsplash | Piron Guillaume

“She can show other kids it’s okay to ask that question and not everyone’s your friend," the girl's mother explained. "I think kids respond more to kids than they do adults, and they can understand they can be brave and smart and run.”

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Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb praised the family's simple yet clearly effective tactic.

via Good Morning America

He gave "kudos" to the parents for "having a code word and talking to their children about 'stranger danger'."

"The mother of this child did an awesome job teaching a code word to her child, and that potentially saved that girl's life," Lamb told GMA. "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."

h/t: GMA, Facebook | Pinal County Sheriff's Office

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