Child who demanded stranger tell her family 'code word' thwarts possible kidnapping

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - An 11-year-old Arizona girl may have thwarted an attempted abduction on Wednesday when she demanded a stranger tell her the family code word, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said.

Authorities said the girl was walking with a friend when a man in an SUV pulled up next to them and told the girl her brothers were in a serious accident and that she needed to go with him. 

The girl then asked the man what the family code word was, the Sheriff's Office said. The man didn't know the family code word and drove off.

“Kudos to the parents of this child for having a code word and talking to their children about stranger danger,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb. “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.”

Other children in the area said they've seen the SUV that approached the child circling the park, according to authorities.

The Sheriff's Office said the man covered most of his face with his hand while talking to the girl in an effort to conceal his identity.

Many responded to the Sheriff's Office's Facebook post, recalling their own code words their families established.

"I have two daughters, age 32 and 35. There (sic) code word was jellybeans. If they didn’t know that then they didn’t go with you," one woman wrote.

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