- At Home
A two-year-old’s screams may have saved his sister’s life on Tuesday when a man attempted to abduct her in broad daylight.
The little boy was walking home from collecting water with his 10-year-old sister in Philadelphia when a man grabbed her, covered her mouth with his palm and lifted her off the ground.
She struggled against him, biting and kicking, and he dropped her to the ground. According to her father, the little girl learned techniques to escape a kidnapper from the NBC show, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
At that point, the man attempted to grab her again, until her little brother began screaming loudly and the would-be kidnapper fled the scene.
“By her account [the victim] she says the child literally screams louder than anything she’s ever heard before, he literally interrupts this assault,” Captain John Darby of the Special Victims Unit told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The police have offered a reward of $10,000 for anyone with information leading to arrest and conviction of the suspect and neighbors are collecting donations for a Toys-R-Us gift card for the little girl.
“I think it’s sickening what happened to her,” said Jennifer Carulli, a neighbor. “I think it’s so scary that he followed her all the way here and actually got out of the car to grab her. It amazes me that this happened.”
Amazingly, surveillance cameras caught the whole thing on tape:
From the footage, police have compiled a description of the man and his vehicle. The suspect is a thinly built Hispanic male between 30 and 40 years old, between 5 foot 9 and 6 feet tall with a thin mustache and short curly black hair. His car is a late 1990s early 2000s white, mid-sized foreign, 4-door (possibly a Mitsubishi or Nissan) with a black scuff on the driver’s side rear bumper and a dent on the left front fender wheel well.
There's also a critical lesson that can be taken away from this near tragedy - the importance of talking to your kids about handling a kidnapping. Even though we like to teach them to ignore strangers, kidnappings are more frequently conducted by people close to the child.
Teach your child to seek help when they feel the situation is beyond their control. Remind them that the “uh oh” feeling is their body telling them to run, so they should try to get away if they feel weird about a person and then tell a parent or trusted adult.
Also, teach them to protect themselves, in the event that someones attempts to abduct them. They should kick, scratch, bite, and aim for eyes, genitals, or knees. Enrolling your child in a self-defense class is never a bad idea. Classes are offered at most YMCAs and some churches. If your child will be walking by themselves, make sure they have a cell phone and a loud whistle.
No matter how safe you think your community is, it’s best to make sure your child can take care of themselves if they are ever alone. It will make both you and your child feel safer and more confident.