style[amp-boilerplate] "Code word" saves girl from being kidnapped by man at Arizona park
TIME

"Code word" saves girl from being kidnapped by man at Arizona park

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A 10-year-old girl’s "code word" helped her avoid a strange man who tried to lure her into his vehicle last Wednesday.

The Arizona girl was walking with a friend near a park in San Tan Valley, about 45 miles east of Phoenix, when a man in a white SUV pulled up to them around 3:45 p.m.
 
He told the girl her brothers had been involved in a serious accident and she needed to come with him. But the smart girl asked him what the code word was, and when he didn’t know it, he drove off.

KNXV reports that the code word was something the girl's mother read about in a story so they decided to inculcate it.

The girl’s mother, Brenda James said:

We just came up with that a few months ago. This one time, it saved my daughters life.

Other children have also reported seeing the man circling repeatedly during the day, according to the sheriff’s office. Officials are now trying to warn other families living in the area.

Sheriff Mark Lamb said:

Kudos to the parents of this child for having a code word and talking about to their children about stranger danger. 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.

The kidnapper is described as being in his 40s with a short beard, but officials say he used his hand to cover much of his face while talking to the girl.
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