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11-year-old girl uses 'code word' system to escape would-be kidnapper, deputies say

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - An Arizona family is being credited with saving their daughter from a would-be kidnapper with a code word system they implemented a few months ago.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said the 11-year-old was walking with a friend near a park when a white SUV pulled up next to them.  The driver told the girl her brothers were injured in a serious accident and she needed to come with him. The child asked the man what the “code word” was, but he did not know and drove off, detectives said. The girl and her friend were unharmed.

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

The girl's mother told KNXV she read an article about code words and implemented the system a few months ago. 

Deputies said multiple children have reported seeing a white van in the area, several times a day. The driver is described as a white male, possibly in his 40s, with a short beard. 

The sheriff's office is asking those with information to call detectives at 520-866-5111.


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