There’s one mother in California who will tuck her little girl into bed tonight with thankfulness in her heart, and then probably lay awake in her own bed, wondering over and over, “What if?”
ABC News reports that a terrifying kidnapping attempt was caught on surveillance video in the town of Victorville, California. The video shows a young mother, with one baby on her hip and her four-year-old daughter next to her, walking into a local cell phone store. The little girl remains close to both her mother and the entrance of the store, idly playing with the candy machine.
Suddenly, moments after the family entered the store, a man darts in, grabs the little girl by her arm, and drags her outside.
Before the door even shuts behind the kidnapper and the little girl, the mother, the second baby still on her hip, races out the door behind them. A man — a customer in the cell phone store — quickly follows to help.
The girl reportedly fell as the man attempted to kidnap her, which allowed her to break free from her would-be kidnapper’s grip. Her mother quickly grabbed her child and hustled her back into the store.
On video, seconds after the terrifying kidnapping attempt, the mother is seen as she re-enters the store — both of her children are safe with her, but the entire family is visibly shaken. Because of her quick action of following in immediate pursuit, the mother was able to thwart the kidnapper and bring her little girl back into the safety of her arms.
Outside, one of the store’s owners and the Good Samaritan customer chased the kidnapper and held him until police arrived, the Daily Mail reports.
The other store owner, Stella Moriel, said that the kidnapping incident happened so quickly she thought it was a domestic dispute rather than an attempted kidnapping.
“I heard screaming,” Moriel said in an interview with local station NBC 4 LA. “I thought they were arguing with each other at first. When I came from behind the counter I asked what was going on.”
The mother of the little girl, Moriel stated, was incredibly upset after the terrifying kidnapping attempt, as were both her children.
“The mom was in here she was very hysterical. Her daughter was very traumatized, just clinging on to her, wouldn’t let go. Both babies were crying.”
The would-be kidnapper was unrepentant, even after caught. As reported, when the little girl fell, the kidnapper abandoned his plan and continued to run down the street. It was Miguel Macias and a customer who held the kidnapper until the San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies arrived.
“He was smiling like it was some kind of joke or something,” Macias said.
The San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies did arrive and promptly arrest the would-be kidnapper. The man is 24-year-old Terry Lynn Ransom, who investigators state may have been high on drugs when he attempted to kidnap the little girl.
Moriel said that she is glad Ransom is in custody, but the near-kidnapping incident was still terrifying and will probably haunt everyone involved for some time to come.
“Even though he got caught it just lets me know how dangerous this world can really be,” Moriel said.
Watch the video below.
Terrifying incidents such as this often leave parents wondering how they should address such scary topics as kidnapping with their own children, but experts agree that it should be done, even though it may be difficult. ABC News reports that parents should reassure their children that kidnapping is rare, but that it’s important to have a family plan in order to stay safe, and kids can learn about safety in a “smart but gentle” way.
Experts encourage parents to help their children learn how to spot potential predators and to tweak each conversation to fit with your child’s age and personality.
Finally, experts agree that in a kidnapping situation, it is important that kids fight back. Kidnappings are rare, but in kidnappings that result in death, the victims are killed within the first three hours 75 percent of the time.
“Kicking and screaming, opening the door, shouting, ‘Who are you? I don’t know who you are. You’re hurting me. Stop it.’ To try to call attention to the situation they’re in,” said Marylene Cloitre of the New York University Child Study Center.
Although no parent ever wants to think about their own child being in danger, giving your child the knowledge he or she may need about predators and kidnapping could save a life.
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