Brave 9-Year-Old Girl Escapes Kidnapper Thanks to Dad's Lessons


empty swingsetThere isn't a parent out there who doesn't read a "child kidnapped" story and shudder. But the tale of the 9-year-old girl who escaped her kidnapper in Colorado is a welcome change. Instead of clutching our kids to our chest in an attempt to keep them safe while our heads fill with worries that we never can, brave little Calysta Cordoba (also being reported as Cordova) has given us a mission.

It's time to sit the kiddos down and tell them this little spitfire's story. Because she knew what she had to do in the face of danger, and she didn't let being 9 years old stop her.

Cordoba allegedly had to fight her way from her former stepfather, Jose Garcia, a 29-year-old man also accused of molesting another girl recently. Reported missing by her family when she didn't return home from school last Thursday night, it wasn't until Friday that she had a chance to break free.

Garcia's car broke down, and when a passerby drove them to a local convenience store, Cordoba ran inside straight to a clerk and used the phone to call 911. She then refused to leave the store with Garcia, who has since been arrested. This girl? Is awesome.

And so is her family.

Little Calysta says her dad, Steve Ryno, taught her to stand up for herself. It's hard for parents who always want to be their kids' support systems, but just look what that lesson did for this family: it brought their little girl back to them. I'd be proud to call this girl my daughter. Which is why I'll be trotting her out as an example for my daughter tonight to reiterate some important lessons.

First and foremost: just because you know someone doesn't mean you can trust them. Sadly, most kidnappings of young children are done by someone the child KNOWS.

We need to teach our kids that just because they know someone and may have trusted them at one point, the need to "respect your elders" ends when they cross a line into inappropriate behavior. It's a hard one to teach kids; I know I struggle with trying to help my daughter differentiate between "strangers you aren't allowed to talk to" and "people Mommy knows who you are just meeting, so you really can say hello to them." We want to teach them to be polite, but we need to let them know that if someone scares them, they should go with their gut feelings.

Second on my list? Make strangers help you. This seems counter-intuitive to the last statement, but kids need to know there are people to turn to. The retail clerk with the phone, in this kid's case, was her best bet. Police officers. Firefighters. There is always the chance that someone else is bad too, but when they're you're only option, you need to take it. And if you're out in public when a kidnapping happens, don't wait to see a uniform, just take anyone. My mom always taught us when we were kids that if we were to be grabbed, we were to scream, "This is not my mommy or daddy," in hopes that someone would be listening.

I'd love to keep my girl "little" forever, locked in my arms to keep her safe. But the greatest of ironies is that ensuring her safety can only be done by forcing her to grow up and realize that even little kids have the strength and power to change their destinies. It sure worked for this little girl.

Is Calysta Cordoba your new inspiration?


Image via wsilver/Flickr

safety, family


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nonmember avatar Brenda Webb

Such a brave lil girl! And I hope that when the guy does his time someone posts her pic with the black eyes in the prison!

Ember... Emberbaby

Yay, for a happy ending! I hope they don't allow this SOB the opportunity to do this again. Lock him up and throw away the key!

nonmember avatar momof3girls

This girl is amazing! Such a scary thing only 2 hrs from where I live. Ps-check the spelling of her name, not being a know it all but if her mom and dad wish to show her this her name should be right. Thank god for watching over her. May he bless her and her family and help her to heal both physicaly and mentaly. Such a brave little girl!

nonmember avatar KristiC.

What I want to know is when will our justice system start worrying about these poor children that get raped, & quit worrying about the monsters "rights"? Chop that thing off, then they can't hurt anymore children! They deserve that & a lot more for what they do, don't worry about how they feel. They don't worry about the pain they inflict on their victims, let them get the same amount of concern from the legal system! I think they lose all their rights when they hurt a child that way.

Yashi... Yashica23

I always told my son to act a fool! Kick scream punch curse as loud as possible whatever it takes. So proud of her and glad she's safe.

andre... andreaw03

This happened right here, where I live.  He is actually being accused of sexually molesting a girl just hours before he kidnapped this girl.  He reportedly checked out a girl from her school without parent permission in the moring, and returned her at 1 pm that day, and then kidnapped this poor girl.  This guy deserves to rot in hell.  It's so awesome that our community came together and this girl is safe!  She is and was so brave! 

Pammi86 Pammi86

As glad that I am that she got away I feel that besides be braving she honestly got lucky. Do you know how rare it is for something to go wrong in a kidnapping? The car breaking down is what saved this little girl as well as her be brave enough to run in and call 911. A lot of abducted children never get this chance. Its good to tell your children about this story in hopes that if this ever happened to them they would do the same. Some kids never get this chance and it really breaks my heart to know what those children go through. I think the fact that she knew him also helped her to be brave. If you don't know someone then its harder bc what if they have a gun? Threaten to hurt your family? In these cases most kids wouldn't be brave and I don't think I would want my child to be brave if a gun is involved. God was watching over this child.

Mommy... MommyMexicano87

How amazing :) It's rare to hear a positive outcome when kidnapping is involved.

nonmember avatar Catrina

such an incredible little girl... I could not imagin how scared she must have been... Thank god she was brave enough to call 911... Best of luck to that little girl and her family

CPN322 CPN322

Kristi  C. - unfortunately, they would find other ways to hurt children :( I say lock em up and throw away the key!!!!

What an amazing little girl!!! And what an awesome dad for teaching her that!!!

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