(KPNX/NBC News) Arizona authorities say a family’s “code word” set up for emergencies likely thwarted a possible kidnapping.
According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, a 10-year-old girl was walking at a San Tan Valley park with a friend when a man driving a white SUV pulled up next to them.
The man told the girl her brother had been in a serious accident, and he’d been sent to pick her up.
The 10-year-old had a bad feeling, and asked the man for her family’s code word, a word she and her parents had established to let her know if a stranger was safe.
“We actually just came up with it a few months ago so it was something real recent form a story that I read,” says Brenda James, the girl’s mother.
The man didn’t know the word, and quickly left.
Children in the neighborhood told officials they have seen that SUV in the neighborhood circling the park several times a day.