A brave 11-year-old girl fought off an alleged kidnapper reportedly armed with a knife at a Pensacola, Fla., bus stop in a chilling incident that was captured on surveillance video.
With at least 50 deputies flooding the area, Escambia County Sheriff’s Department subsequently launched a massive manhunt and tracked down the suspect who is charged with the attempted kidnapping of a child under 13 and aggravated assault and battery.
The successful search was in part due to cops obtaining the vehicle’s tag and staking out several locations, at one of which he was arrested about eight hours later.
The incident occurred on Tuesday morning about 7 a.m. when a man is seen on video exiting a white SUV and rushing toward the little girl and then trying drag her back to the vehicle.
After a struggle, she, fortunately, managed to break free from the potential abductor, who returned to his vehicle and drove off.
(Video: Escambia County Sheriff’s Office via Fox 13)
According to Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons, the suspect, age 30, had “blue slime” on his arms when he was taken the custody. The young girl reportedly happened to be playing with blue slime before the attempted kidnapping. He was also allegedly wearing the same clothes as observed in the video. The same vehicle in question was also allegedly freshly painted black which was noticeable by the smell.
The sheriff also noted that the suspect allegedly has an extensive criminal history that includes “sexual offenses with a child.”
“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what his intentions were, but they were not good,” he claimed.
Sheriff Simmons praised the girl — who fortunately escaped with just a few scratches — for her bravery, particularly given what could have been the outcome.
“Had this 11-year-old victim not fought –to fight and to fight — and to just never give up, this could have ended terribly,” he said. “My message to her is that she’s my hero; my message is that she did not give up.
“She did the right thing. She fought and she fought and she fought, and she never gave up, and then she went straight to her parents, which she should have done, told her parents what was going on, who in turn contacted the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, and we were able to muster 50 deputies in a really short time.”
Perhaps even more disturbing, the same man had reportedly approached the same girl about two weeks ago and made her feel uncomfortable. There was apparently no violence in that encounter, fortunately.
The Pensacola News Journal and other media outlets have identified the suspect as Jared Paul Stanga.
Watch the sheriff’s press conference:
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