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Girl, 11, fights off attempted kidnapper at Fla. school bus stop

Published: May. 19, 2021 at 2:52 AM EDT
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ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) - An 11-year-old Florida girl was alone at a school bus stop when a man tried to grab her and get her into his van. Surveillance video shows she fought and was able to get free.

Jared Stanga, 30, has been arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault and battery, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested about 5 p.m. Tuesday after investigators tied him to an incident earlier that day at a school bus stop.

Video shows an 11-year-old girl waiting alone for the school bus Tuesday morning when a man, believed to be Stanga, darts out of a white van and straight for her. Armed with a knife, he wrestled with the girl, trying to carry her to the car.

Jared Stanga, 30, is charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault...
Jared Stanga, 30, is charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault and battery. He has a past criminal history, including sexual offenses with a child, according to the sheriff.(Source: Escambia County Sheriff's Office, WEAR via CNN)

However, the girl was able to fight Stanga off. She then ran home while the suspect fled the scene in the van.

“She fought and she fought and she fought until finally she was able to break free,” Sheriff Chip Simmons said. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what his intentions were, but they were not good. So, a life was saved.”

More than 50 deputies scoured the neighborhood, and within eight hours, Simmons announced Stanga had been arrested. The sheriff says the tag number on the van led deputies to a home where they found both the suspect and the van.

Stanga allegedly had blue slime stuck on his clothes and body, slime which the 11-year-old girl had been playing with at the time of the attempted kidnapping.

The sheriff says the van’s bumper, which was originally described as silver, had fresh black paint.

“You saw the blue goo, the slime, that’s on the suspect that the victim had. You’re not kidding anyone. We know you’re an animal, and we also know you’re under arrest,” Simmons said.

Simmons says Stanga has a past criminal history, including sexual offenses with a child.

This may not have been the suspect’s first attempt to kidnap the 11-year-old girl.

The victim says the same man approached her at the bus stop two weeks ago and made her feel uncomfortable. She reported the incident to her school, and the principal alerted her parents. The girl’s mother says, prior to Tuesday, she walked her daughter to the bus stop every day following the first encounter.

Copyright 2021 WEAR via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.