Have you heard about Hailey Owens? She was the little girl that was murdered last week, allegedly by an elementary school athletics coach. Her body was found in Craig Michael Wood’s basement. He fits the description of the man witnesses say abducted Hailey just three hours before he was taken in.
Three hours. It took three hours for this little girl to go from walking home from a friend’s house to being dead.
But the scariest part about this case is that it’s truly one of those “it could happen to anyone” cases. Although most kidnapping cases involve family members abducting children, Woods wasn’t related to Hailey. It’s unclear if she even knew who he was.
It was in broad daylight. Witnesses say that Woods seemed to be asking Hailey for directions, and when she stepped closer, he grabbed her into the vehicle and sped off. One tiny step forward, and she was gone. Apparently people tried to chase after him, and at least one person was able to report the license plate number to the police. Amber alerts were issued.
It didn’t matter. Hailey couldn’t have done anything to keep herself safer, but it’s a good reminder to do a little Stranger Danger refresher course with my own kids.
Side note: Apparently you’re not supposed to say “stranger danger” anymore because it’s confusing. Well ok then.
Anyway, there are some things that are important to talk to your kids about when it comes to interacting with adults that they don’t know. For instance, that whole “don’t accept candy from strangers” thing. Or get into a car with someone you don’t know.
Now I have a new one to tell my kids -- if someone stops you and asks for directions, or wants to talk to you for any reason, don’t step closer to the car. Back away. Run away.
I’ve also told both my daughters to run away and scream as loudly as possible if someone tries to grab them. They should yell, “I don’t know you!” as loudly as possible so that witnesses won’t think they’re just throwing a tantrum.
If they get grabbed, they’re to aim for the crotch and the eyes. They’ve had my phone number memorized since they were three, in case they ever ended up lost.
Speaking of being lost, I’ve taught them to look for other moms with small kids. Statistically speaking, moms with young children aren’t likely to be kidnappers.
There’s nothing we moms can do in cases like Hailey Owens’ murder. But sometimes we feel like we have to do something to try to prevent another senseless tragedy.
Do you talk to your kids about what to do if someone tries to kidnap them?
Image via Symphoney/Flickr