Sheriff: Parents should talk to their children about 'stranger - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Sheriff: Parents should talk to their children about 'stranger dangers'

"What do you do if you see a stranger? I say back up!" Heaven said. "What do you do if you see a stranger? I say back up!" Heaven said.
"We have a lot of sick people out here," said Greenwell. "They could be people you've never met. They could be your next door neighbor." "We have a lot of sick people out here," said Greenwell. "They could be people you've never met. They could be your next door neighbor."
PEMISCOT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

You can't assume your child knows what to do in this situation.

Authorities say you should constantly remind your children to scream, fight, and run for their life if someone ever tries to take them away.

"You can't take your eye off of them it doesn't take a split second for them to be gone," said Jo Ann Hicks.

Hicks knows to keep her 5-year-old granddaughter Heaven safe. You have to have the stranger danger talk often. Heaven knows exactly what to do. And, she even has a phrase she uses if someone approaches her

"What do you do if you see a stranger? I say back up!" Heaven said.

Words like back up, screaming and running for help, and getting away. It's what sheriffs like Pemiscot County Sheriff Tommy Greenwell say you have to do to avoid the unthinkable, a kidnapping.

"We have a lot of sick people out here," said Greenwell. "They could be people you've never met. They could be your next door neighbor."

Across the Heartland people are aware abductions can happen. Just take a look at recent reports of suspicious individuals approaching or trying to take children and teenagers in recent months.

There's also well known cases of tragedy, survival and continued searching.

"We do not live in Mayberry anymore and it's right to talk to your children every day," said Greenwell.

Greenwell says he feels reports are increasing. He's asking parents to tell their kids to fight back and run for help.

"In this day and time nobody's safe," said Greenwell. "Your children need to be taught to fight, yell, kick, bite and scratch. The last thing you want to do is get in that vehicle."

Greenwell says we live in an area where interstates create a crime corridor that could potentially be used for many things including human trafficking. And a convenient escape route for kidnappers.

"I would say common sense would tell you we have sexual predators traveling thru our area on a daily basis," Greenwell said.

Greenwell says to tell your kids who they can go to if they are in trouble.

As for Heaven, she already has that down too. She says it is okay to talk to police and teachers but not strangers.

In Carter County, authorities tell us they are still looking for the men who tried to abduct a jogger last week.

Meanwhile multiple authorities continue to investigate attempted abductions in St. Francois County.

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