Mother says 'code word' prevented daughter's kidnapping

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. — An Arizona girl thwarted a kidnapping attempt Wednesday afternoon thanks to the code word system her mother implemented a few months ago.

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The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said the girl was walking with a friend near a park when a man in a white SUV pulled up next to them. The man told the girl that her brothers had been injured in an accident and that she needed to come with him. The girl asked for the "code word," which the man did not know. The man drove off, and the girl and her friend were unharmed, the sheriff's office said.

Warning: On Wednesday, November 7th, a Pinal County deputy responded to a home in the North Pecan Creek neighborhood...

Posted by Pinal County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, November 8, 2018

Children in the area told police they've seen the white van circling the neighborhood park several times per day. The suspect is described as a white male, possibly in his 40s, with a short beard. Those with any information on the suspect should call PCSO at 520-866-5111.

“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 that she had established the code word system with her daughter just a few months ago, after reading an article on the topic.