Thankful parents talk about daughter escaping alleged abductor - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Thankful parents talk about daughter escaping alleged abductor

Antonio Fernando Truss is the person of interest in an attempted kidnapping. Formal charges have not been filed yet. (Source: Pemiscot Co. Sheriff's Office) Antonio Fernando Truss is the person of interest in an attempted kidnapping. Formal charges have not been filed yet. (Source: Pemiscot Co. Sheriff's Office)
CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) -

Thankful parents speak out after police say their 12-year-old daughter escaped an alleged abductor. 

Police and family now call Haley Prater a hero because she and witnesses were able to think quickly, and give police the clues they needed to catch up with the person of interest. He is now behind bars in Pemiscot County.  

It happened around 6 p.m. on Thursday in Caruthersville. Mo.

Antonio Fernando Truss, 41, is the person of interest in the attempted kidnapping. Formal charges have not been filed yet. According to Police Chief, Tony Jones those charges could be filed as early as Monday. 

Jones believes Truss tried to kidnap the girl on Thursday. According to police and public records, Truss was out on bond awaiting trail for alleged sex allegations from attempted rape to sodomy in 2014. 

Friday Heartland News met with Haley and her mother and father, Rita and Ronnie Prater. 

"When she came and told me I wanted to strangle him," said Ronnie Prater. "If he had taken her I would have wanted to kill him." 

Police say, in cases like this, when a man tries to coax a girl into his car, the case usually ends with tragic circumstances. 

"We were still literally shaking most of last night," said Rita Prater. 

According to police Truss allegedly approached Prater and two of her friends near 8th and Beckwith. 

"He told her to get into his car, I don't bite," said Ronnie Prater. 

The family believes if a cousin hadn't pulled up at just the right moment they'd be looking for her now.

"She wouldn't be here," said Ronnie Prater.

"We are so lucky and we just can't stop thinking about it," said Rita Prater.

"We need stricter laws especially in cases where there's involvement with a child or a crime against a child is suspected," said Jones. "If you look at the charges he was facing from the past year, in my opinion I feel very strongly he should not have been on the streets."

With the help of the girl's and other witnesses' descriptions police caught up with Truss at Poplar and Ward after a short chase of about a mile and a quarter at the south end of town.

They told police a black male driving a red SUV with a Missouri tag tried to lure a juvenile into his car. 

While officers where en route to the area, they saw a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle turn south onto Ward Avenue off of East 18th. 

Officers stopped the vehicle at the corner of Poplar and South Ward. 

At that location, Jones said Truss was arrested and jailed, pending the filing of formal charges.

Parents and law enforcement are both thankful the girls are safe. Both agree Truss should have never been out of jail.

"In my eyes predators of a sexual nature can not be rehabilitated and we have to be tougher to protect our communities," said Jones.

"He should not have been out on bond," said Ronnie Prater. "There's absolutely no reason. My family means everything to me and the same goes for all the other families here. We have to tell them to stay close to stay safe."

Truss is now behind bars and kidnapping charges are pending. Meanwhile his bond has been revoked as he awaits trial on alleged sex charges from last year.

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