NEWARK, Ohio (WCMH)– A terrifying experience for an 11-year-old girl in Newark who told police a man tried to talk her into taking a ride with him. Instead, she used her training and wits to avoid a possible abduction.
It was at the corner of 12th Street and Jefferson Road where the girl said an older man tried to convince her he knew her family. Her mother said the girl did just what she and her husband trained her to do in a stranger-danger situation.
“In her own words it was the scariest day of her life,” her mother said.
We are not identifying either the 11-year-old or her mother. She said her daughter stayed after school to work on a math project and was walking the five blocks from John Clem Elementary to her house alone.
“When she was about halfway home a man in a white van said ‘Hey, I know your parents and sister. Do you want a ride?’”
Her mother said that set off alarm bells for the girl because she doesn’t have a sister.
“So, she screamed ‘I don’t know you’ and she blew her whistle and she ran,” she said.
She described the man as between 60 and 70 years old with white hair and she said he continued to follow her.
“So she kept blowing the whistle and running,” but her mother said no other vehicles drove by and none of the neighbors were outside.
She told her mom he cussed at her and followed her to her home.
“She ran inside, locked the door behind her and got her oldest brother who is 17. He called me; I called Newark police,” her mother said.
Both her parents and school officials have praised her for being brave.
“They told her ‘You did the right thing, exactly what you were supposed to do.’”
The suspect is described as wearing dirty clothes with an orange shirt and driving a white cargo van with no rear windows.
Newark police have a detective assigned to the case, but no one has been charged yet.