The 11-year-old girl who fought off an attempted kidnapping in Florida says she used a little trick that she learned from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU), in a move that made it easy for police to find her slimy attacker.
Video captured from the girl’s bus stop on Tuesday showed her resisting a man who tried to carry her to his SUV, in a brief but fierce battle that ended with the suspect giving up and fleeing the scene.
What the video didn’t show was the girl’s clever effort to mark the man with blue slime — a homemade toy that she’d been playing with before the attack. Police later noticed the slime on the suspect when they showed up to arrest him.
Florida girl, 11, fights off attempted kidnapping in dramatic video
The girl, whose first name is Alyssa, says she got the idea to slime the man from SVU, the police show that she often watches with her mother.
Alyssa described her dramatic escape in an interview with NBC’s Today on Thursday.
“The man got out of his vehicle holding a knife, came towards and me and I tried to run but he caught me,” the girl said.
The incident played out in a matter of seconds, but police say Alyssa did the smart thing by fighting back.
“She went limp,” Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons told reporters at a news conference late Tuesday. “She’s kicking, she’s pushing, she’s punching and she’s able to get free.”
The video shows Alyssa tripping up her attacker as he’s trying to haul her back to his white SUV. They tumbled to the ground together and Alyssa continues to fight.
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“I was able to get the slime onto his upper arm and a little bit on his lower arm,” she told Today. “I knew that might be better evidence for if the cops do find him.”
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The suspect fled the scene but the cops did find him several hours later, according to Sheriff Simmons. They traced his vehicle from the surveillance footage, and they knew to look for slime on his arm because Alyssa told them what she’d done.
“The suspect, when we caught him, had blue slime all over his arms,” Simmons said.
Jared Paul Stanga, 30, has been charged with the attempted kidnapping of a child under 13 and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery, jail records show. He is being held on a $1.5-million bond.
Police hailed Alyssa for fighting off the attacker and helping them to find him later that same day. They also applauded her for reporting an earlier alleged encounter with the same man, when he supposedly tried to talk to her at the same bus stop a few weeks ago.
“She knew something was wrong,” the sheriff said, adding that Alyssa immediately informed her parents and her school about the encounter.
While local police were singing her praises, Alyssa also caught the eye of actor Mariska Hargitay, who plays Capt. Olivia Benson on SVU.
Hargitay said she was “honoured” to know that her show played a role in Alyssa’s escape, in an Instagram post that she wrote on Thursday.
“You are one BRAVE, strong and smart young woman,” Hargitay wrote. “I think the SVU squad might have to add slime to their crimefighting gear! With all my love, your number one fan, Mariska.”
The girl was unharmed in the encounter and is undergoing counselling as she recovers from her brush with danger.
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