A Florida man was arrested Tuesday after an 11-year-old girl fought back during an attempted kidnapping and escaped to safety Tuesday morning, the Escambia County sheriff said.
“She fought, and she never gave up,” Sheriff Chip Simmons said at a news conference.
Jared Paul Stanga, 30, faces charges of attempted kidnapping of a child, aggravated assault and battery. The sheriff said he had an object believed to have been a knife.
The attempted abduction at 7 a.m. at a bus stop was captured on home surveillance video that helped lead investigators to Stanga’s home, where he was arrested, Simmons said.
“This rarely, rarely happens,” Simmons said. “… When I saw the video, I was just shocked that this happened here in Escambia County.”
It was not immediately clear if Stanga had an attorney late Tuesday.
Simmons said the girl did everything right by fighting with the alleged abductor and then running to tell her parents, who called law enforcement.
The girl was said to be OK with minor scratches and some mental trauma.
The video shows a man running toward her and trying to carry her back toward the vehicle before he stumbles and runs off without her.
The girl was playing with a “blue slime” toy when the attempted abduction occurred, and when deputies arrested the man, he had a blue substance on his arms, the sheriff said.
A chrome bumper on the vehicle had been painted black, Simmons said, apparently in an effort to alter its appearance after a description that included that bumper was given out.
The girl said that two weeks ago the same white car approached her and the driver tried to speak with her. She reported that incident to her parents and school principal.