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Child Safety Situation #10

Girl, 10 years old; abducted while walking home alone from a friend's house.

Mrs. Haber* heard the phone ring. When she picked it up, it was her 10-year-old daughter Sue* calling to say she was just leaving her friend's house to come home. Mrs. Haber knew the bicycle trip took only a few minutes, so when 10 minutes passed and Sue wasn't home, she went to look for her. When she did not find her anywhere along the way or at her friends, she immediately called the police.

The police suspected Sue's brother-in-law because he had molested other children in the past. When he heard the police wanted to question him, he hanged himself. Sue has never been found.

Anyone may have taken Sue that afternoon. If it was her sister's husband or someone she knew, she may have trusted him enough to let him put her bicycle in his truck and give her a lift home.

What can you learn from Sue's story to make you more predator resistant?

May I Ride:
Never get into a car without your mother's or father's permission earlier that day to ride with that person. If Sue willingly got into the car with anyone, she made a deadly mistake. If the ride offer came from someone she knew, she could have said, "It's not far, and I'd rather ride by bike, but thanks." Don't ever worry about hurting an adult's feeling if the adult is asking you to break a rule designed to protect you from getting hurt by predators. Remember predators are shape-changers and can take the form of any person, friend, relative, or stranger. That's why there are no exceptions to this tip.

If someone tried to force Sue into a car, she should have screamed "rape" or "help me; he's kidnapping me!" Continue screaming to passing cars for help. Scream "call 911; take his license; he is kidnapping me."

Fight Back:
Always try to break free and run.

The smartest thing you can do, once you are captive in a predator's car, is try to get away before the predator gets you alone where no one will help you or hear you scream. Jump from the vehicle when it slows down at a light or a turn. Being brave in a terrifying situation can save your life.

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*Names changed to protect privacy; information presented for educational purposes only. Reprinted with permission from The Jimmy Ryce Center.

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