In case you’re just tuning in normally this is where I give you a Texas true crime story in my “365 Days of Texas True Crime” series, and don’t worry I’m still going to do that, however today’s story isn’t going to be from back in the day, it’s very recent, and it’s more of McGruff the Crime Dog, here’s what to do, kind of story.

Screenshot of McGruff

So you may have read in the news recently about the little girl in Florida that almost got kidnapped and it was all caught on CCT camera? In case you didn’t 11 year old Alyssa Bonal was sitting in a small section of grass on a Tuesday morning on May 18th of this year waiting for the bus to school to arrive.  She was sitting in the grass playing with some homemade blue slime when a white minivan type vehicle (why is it always a white van?) pulls up to the intersection and a man jumps out and bolts toward her.  She managed to get to her feet the at same time the man reaches her and try’s to pick her up with the obvious intentions of carrying her to his van.  However, Alyssa and her mom love to watch a show that we all know and love (didn’t know it was still putting out new episodes though, I’ll have to re-invest) called SVU, and while they watch Alyssa and her mom talk about what to do in various situations.  Little did this fool know that he picked the WRONG kid to try and abduct on that day.  First of all Alyssa was paying attention while she was sitting on the grass playing with her blue slime waiting for the bus, something the would-be abductor likely didn’t realize.  She was however, and she had already taken notice of his vehicle passing her on the grass once and then coming back up the same street he had just went down.  She noticed that when he came to the intersection he didn’t just pause stop and carry on his way like everyone else, he paused and that didn’t get past her at all.  When he jumped out of his vehicle you could tell he did so when he saw Alyssa look down for a moment.  Even with the would be abductor waiting for Alyssa to not be looking his direction when he jumped out of his van she still managed to get to her feet and even make it a few steps before the man managed to scoop her under his arm.  Like I said though, he picked the wrong kid that day to try and abduct.  Alyssa fought, she knew what she had to do and she did it, she kicked, scratched and screamed (and did a little something else that not even I was prepared for when I heard it) and they fell to the ground.   She put up such a fight that the man gave up, likely fearing the attention the scene was surely to be getting at that point.  She bolted in the direction of a neighbors house for help and he walked back to his van and drove away.  Police were called and law enforcement in West Pensacola, Florida did not take kindly to some walking piece of garbage trying to kidnap one of their children.  They caught him not long after with the help of some quickly obtained surveillance footage and were able to gain some indisputable evidence in the process….thanks to Alyssa.  That’s right folks, this little girl wasn’t kidding when she told the police and reporters that it was watching her and her moms favorite TV that helped her escape and apparently she went a step further.  Remember I said she was playing with some home made blue slime while she was waiting for the bus?  Well, she remembered in the show the detectives always talking about evidence and I’m sure there are some episodes where someone getting kidnapped has the forethought to leave some evidence that could either help them be found or lead them to the abductor.  That’s a television show you guys….this little 11 year old girl did that in real life!

When that man scooped her up to try and carry her to his van and while she was fighting, kicking and screaming, she had the blue slime in her hand the whole time rubbing it everywhere she was hitting him and not by accident folks, she knew what she was doing….and it worked.

When the man was apprehended his arms and his jacket had what? Blue slime all over the place!  You can find interviews with the little girl and the video of the incident here and the reason I’m telling you this story out of Florida and telling you to go and watch this video is

  1. So you can use this video to show your, kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids, students
  2. So I can tell you this next part……

 

As you know in the middle of May in Dallas, Texas, a 4 year old boy was taken out of the crib he was sleeping in at 5 O’clock in the morning by someone who broke into the house and carried him out.  He was found dead just hours later.  There really wasn’t much this sweet little baby angel could have done in this situation and honestly at home in your bed should be where you’re the safest.

The point I’m trying to make is this, even though the delivery might have been a little off back in the day, at least there were programs going around schools trying to teach kids to be safe and stay away from drugs.  I can remember having assemblies where police officers would come to our school and talk to us about what to do in a kidnapping situation, you remember “Stranger Danger” right? Then there was McGruff the Crime Dog.  McGruff would come to your class with his sketchy looking briefcase and show you all the different drugs you should stay away from.  Just say NO to drugs was a huge thing when I was in school.  I know they still do some stuff like that in schools but not like they used to and I don’t understand why.

If you have kids in your life of school age, particularly the ones that walk to school but really any and all kids, you should take the time to instill in them some things to keep them safe.  You cant expect them to go above and beyond like Alyssa did but it couldn’t hurt to try.

Make sure you have this talk with them because you truly never know.

First of all some things you can do:

Have ID-like photos taken of your kids every 6 months and have them fingerprinted.  Fingerprint programs are sponsored by many local police departments and it’s fun for the kids.  I’ve done it and yes, it was fun.

 

If you’ve allowed your child a phone, make sure it has the GPS tracking on at all times and remind them to keep their phone on them if possible at all times.

 

Things for the Kiddos:

 

Make sure they know that no matter what, if someone try’s to take them to “go psycho”, that’s what my son and I call it, kick, scream, holler, scratch, bite….. I told my son that if someone ever try’s to grab you up, you go super Saiyan, you bite down on whatever you can as hard you can, take a chunk out of them.  Use literally anything within reach to get them away from you, throw your backpack at them, throw rocks, poop in your hand and go all zoo monkey on them….yeah I said it.

 

Tell them to NEVER accept rides from anyone, that one’s obvious but I figured I would throw it in, and I mean ANYONE, if someone in a police car or what looks like a police car rolls up and tells them to hop in, make sure they know they can say NO.  I’m sorry officer but I’ve been told to NEVER accept a ride from anyone under any circumstances and even though it appears you’re a police officer, you’re still a stranger.  This one sounds a little tricky, I mean I get it, a legit police officer could just take their butts into custody if they wanted and what if they tried to run away? You never want a kid to run away from an officer so here is the next part of what to do in this situation.

Make sure you’re kiddo knows their address and phone number that way if they are in this situation they can give the officer your number and ask them to call you on speaker so that if they are set on that child getting into their vehicle with them, for whatever reason, you are able to get their badge and cruiser number.

I’m not saying that particular situation would ever happen, considering an officer isn’t going to just come upon a kid not doing anything wrong and randomly want to give them a ride home but you get what I’m saying, be prepared for everything.

 

I’ve seen it said to have a secret word to ask for if a stranger rolls up on a kid in and says “you’re mom/dad sent me to come get you” type of situation…..no.  I have told my son that under no circumstances are you to accept rides from a stranger and if a stranger try’s to feed you this line run the opposite direction, to a house or where there are people immediately.

 

There is no situation I can fathom that would cause me to send a stranger to go get my child, ever.

 

I know it’s hard to think about and it’s even harder to have to talk about a situation that would be your worst nightmare, and I know you don’t want to scare your kids but have these talks with them just to be safe.

 

The biggest thing to teach them is to fight, fight hard and don’t stop fighting and trying to get away.