10-Year-Old Girl Escapes Would-Be Kidnapper By Using 'Code Word'

Maddison Raines and a friend were walking near a park when a stranger approached them in a white SUV and said Maddison's brother had been in a "serious accident."

November 14, 2018
Brenda James and her daughter Maddison Raines [Good Morning America/YouTube (screenshot)]

Brenda James and her daughter Maddison Raines [Good Morning America/YouTube (screenshot)]

Brenda James and her daughter Maddison Raines [Good Morning America/YouTube (screenshot)]

By: Catherine Townsend
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PINAL COUNTY, AZ — A 10-year-old Arizona girl has been praised by police after her clever use of a “code word” saved her from a kidnapper.

Last week, Maddison Raines was walking near a park with her friend when a stranger in a white SUV approached the children.

Maddison said that the man shielded his face and told her that her brother had “been in a serious accident.” He insisted that he had been sent by Maddison’s family to pick her up.

But instead of getting into the car, Maddison asked the stranger what the family’s “code word” was.

Unable to answer, the stranger drove away.

“He just kind of froze, his face. And drove off,” the fifth-grader told Good Morning America. “I was scared, because if I would’ve hopped in, I didn’t know what he would do to me.”

Maddison ran home immediately and told her grandmother what had happened.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb praised Maddison’s parents in a Facebook post.

“Kudos to the parents of this child for having a code word and talking about to their children about stranger danger,” he said. “We hope by putting this out, it will encourage parents to have that conversation and create a plan with their children, so they know what to do if they are in that situation.”

Read more: People