11-yr-old wiped blue slime on her attempted kidnapper's arm, helping police identify him

While kidnappings by complete strangers in broad daylight are extremely rare, they can and do happen. If a child ever finds themselves in that situation, it's important for them to know what to do.

A security camera captured a scary kidnapping attempt in Florida that has people praising the 11-year-old girl who fought off her attacker and even left a clue that helped police identify him.

Video footage shared by the Escambia County Sherriff's office shows the girl sitting alone at her bus stop at around 7:00 am when a white car turned at the median, then returned a minute later. A man exits the vehicle, runs up to the girl, and grabs her, attempting to carry her back to the car. Sherriff Chip Simmons told reporters that the man was carrying a knife. The girl put up a fight and the man stumbled, then ran back to his car and drove away as the girl ran in the opposite direction.


The girl was playing with blue slime when the man approached her, and she wiped some of it on his arm in the struggle. When police arrested the suspect, who has been identified as 30-year-old Jared Paul Stanga, they saw the slime still smeared on his arm.

Simmons told reporters at a news conference that Stanga has an "extensive" criminal history that includes sexual offenses against children. Stanga has now been charged with the attempted kidnapping of a child under 13 and aggravated assault and battery.

"I cannot help to think that this could have ended very differently," Simmons said. "Had this 11-year-old victim not thought to fight and to fight and to just never give up, then this could have ended terribly. Why else do you think that this man stopped, stopped his van and tried to pick her up and take her into that van? It doesn't take a genius to figure out what his intentions were, but they were not good."

Simmons also told reporters that Stanga had approached the girl about two weeks ago at the bus stop and "made her feel uncomfortable." She told school officials and her parents about the incident, and her mother started accompanying her to the bus stop. Tuesday was the first day her mother had not been with her at the bus stop since that incident.

Simmons called the girl his hero for fighting to get away. She ended up with some scratches—and obviously experienced some trauma—but otherwise walked away uninjured.

"My message is that she did not give up," he said. "She did the right thing, and she fought and she fought."

Parents don't want to imagine anything like this happening to their child and may not want to scare them by telling them it could happen, but it's also important to prepare kids for all possibilities. Some children might freeze in fear or confusion in a potential abduction situation, but experts recommend kids fight back if someone actually physically grabs a child and tries to take them someplace.

"Kicking and screaming, opening the door, shouting, 'Who are you? I don't know who you are. You're hurting me. Stop it.' To try to call attention to the situation they're in," Marylene Cloitre of the New York University Child Study Center told ABC News. There are even formal programs in some places that teach kids what to do in various situations and have them practice using their voice and putting up a struggle, such as this one in the Chicago suburbs.

Training teaches kids to yell, run and fight back to escape kidnappers www.youtube.com

There is no audio on the security footage in Tuesday's attempt, but it's clear the 11-year-old was not going to go quietly. Her instinct to fight back paid off, and thankfully she is home safe now. Hopefully, the justice system will now do what is necessary to protect her and other kids from the would-be kidnapper.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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