Child Abduction Sparks Parental Awareness


By Heather VacLav

Plenty of people are talking about security camera video CBS 8 first aired Thursday night on CBS 8 News at 10:00.

The video was from a West Georgia Walmart where a man tried to abduct a little girl Wednesday, before she kicked her way free.
Since then, River Region parents are using the video as a tool to teach their own children how to stay safe.
CBS-8 showed the video to Montgomery parents and after watching, they couldn't believe what they saw.
“Oh my gosh," said Leslie Robertson with her mouth dropped open.
Another mother said she wouldn’t know what to do if it happened to her.
“It’s just scary to see it happening,” said Lacey Thomas.
Robertson was with her two young children at the time.
“They'll get away from you in a second, you have to keep your eye on them and teach them that strangers are danger, that's what we’re learning right now,” Robertson said.
When abductions happen, many parents think ‘this won't happen to me in my town’...but in fact something like that did happen in Montgomery back in Easter of 2010. A little girl was lured into a stranger’s car at her church’s Easter egg hunt, but she escaped after kicking and screaming for help.
Fortunately, both children escaped their would-be abductors. The 7-year old Georgia girl knew how to get away from learning "Stranger Danger" at her school. The same kinds of lessons are also taught here in Montgomery.
Master Carole Coker at the Family Karate Center on Vaughn Road created the "Stranger Danger" program years ago. Since its inception, Coker travelled across the country teaching kids and parents about the importance of being prepared for the worst of situations.
“The number one myth about child abduction is that it will not happen to my child,” Coker said.
“[But] it can happen to your child - it happens to children across the United States and across the world every day, so the number one tool is awareness,” she said.
One of Coker’s students and her father, Abigail and Alan Peterson, helped demonstrate the techniques she teaches children.
Alan approached his daughter like an attacker and wrapped his arms around her to take her away. Using the Coker’s “potato sack” maneuver, Abigail clasped her hands together straight over her head and slid down to the ground like a sack of potatoes and escaped while screaming “Stranger, stranger, you’re not my parent.”
Coker said the goal is to make safety fun an easy for kids to learn. Other techniques included “peel the banana” where kids peel back the abductor’s fingers if grabbed on the shoulders from behind.
Alan Peterson even though he hopes they don’t have to be, he says his daughters are prepared with Coker’s “Stranger Danger” lessons.
“You would think in a physical contest, a grown man such as my self [against] a small child, I have the advantage,” he said.
“But you're going to be very surprised as a grown man when that child fights back, most attackers aren't expecting that child, they are looking for an easy target,” he said.
If you want to prepare your child to keep them safe, the Family Karate Center is offering 2-free weeks of Stranger Danger lessons. To sign up, please call (334) 277-4911.

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