Eating popsicles, riding bikes and catching fireflies are all part of simple summertime fun that plays out every day across the country. But on Friday July 2, 2021 during the early evening hours in Louisville, Kentucky, this typical scenario turned into real life nightmare when a young girl was abducted by a stranger while she was playing outside.
The entire incident, from the time the girl was taken, to the moment she was safely recovered, happened very quickly - less than 30 minutes. Louisville Metro Police say it was the immediate action of witnesses that made the difference for this little girl. Because of their quick thinking and the accurate information given to the 9-1-1 dispatcher, police were able to move fast.
Police released body cam footage showing the moments that Officer Jason Burba and Sergeant Joe Keeling located the little girl and apprehended the suspect. The little girl can be heard calling for her daddy.
A “stranger abduction case” is very rare. At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), we receive reports of missing children that fall into one of five case types, including nonfamily abductions. A nonfamily abduction occurs when a child is taken by someone known, but not related, to the child, such as a neighbor or an online acquaintance, or by someone unknown to the child. Nonfamily abductions are the rarest type of case and make up only 1% of the missing children cases reported to NCMEC.
Based on over ten years of data, NCMEC identified that:
- Attempted abductions occur more often when a child is going to or from school or school-related activities
- School-age children are at greatest risk on school days before and after school (7-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m.) and after dinner time (6-7 p.m.)
- Attempted abductions most often occur on the street while children are playing, walking, or riding bikes
In 2020, more than 600 cases of attempted abductions were documented by NCMEC. We found that children evaded abduction in a variety of ways, including:
- Ignoring or refusing the abductor
- Using a cellphone to threaten or intervene
- Fighting back
- Screaming and/or making noise
- Another adult or child intervened
- Abductor left the area or voluntarily released the child
NCMEC’s Kidsmartz program gives care givers resources they can use to talk to children and ‘safety scenarios” that can be rehearsed.
If you have information about a missing child, we urge you to report it to NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST.