CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - The family of a little girl who police said was nearly kidnapped spoke with 3News Wednesday.
Police said the 10-year-old girl was walking home around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 2700 block of Emory Drive in Calallen. She told police the driver of a dark blue SUV approached her and told her that her parents sent him to pick her up.
Thankfully, she knew something wasn't right and decided to run to safety.
"She was very scared," her father Shane Browning said.
Browning recalled what his daughter said happened.
"An older model SUV pulled up and told her that her mom had told him to pick her up because I had gotten hurt," Browning said. "She didn't recognize the man and she just took off. She ran here. She had a key and just went into the house and locked the door."
The family has lived in the neighborhood for almost two years and have never encountered something like this.
"Numerous kids normally get off the school bus, but yesterday happened to be the one day that she was the only one that got off her particular school bus," Browning said.
The parents have gone over different types of scenarios with their kids and talked to them about "stranger danger" in the past. Now, they will be taking extra precautions.
"She has a cell phone. She didn't have it with her, so she'll have it with her from now on," Browning said. "Put some surveillance cameras here at the house."
Still, the fact that it happened at all is shocking for the family.
"I think everybody's in shock," Browning said. "You see it on the news but you don't think it's going to happen to you, or even in your neighborhood."
Statistics show that in 80-percent of abductions by strangers, the first contact between the child and the abductor occurs within a quarter mile of the child's home.
Even though the parents are glad their daughter is safe, they realize how different the incident could have been.
"We talked about it last night, me and my wife," Browning said. "If she didn't know what to do, or if he had gotten a hold of her, we'd be in a different situation right now."
The Calallen Independent School Disctrict released a statement Wednesday saying they had a safety meeting with bus drivers and addressed personnel to be on heightened alert. Parents were also sent a letter Wednesday morning informing them that school staff will be speaking to students and reiterating the need for precautions regarding "stranger danger."
Some tips for parents are to talk to kids about things like using the buddy system when walking home; never approaching cars or houses that they do not know; making sure they know how to dial 911, and other important numbers like family members; and creating a family password in case someone tries to pick up your child -- they can test them with that password.
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