Two sisters from Olympia, Washington, were playing outside on Sunday when they spied a cat and decided to follow it into the woods near their home. It’s something any child might do after spotting a furry creature, but the girls were soon reminded in a horrifying fashion that danger lurks all around us, even when we least expect it.
Seven-year-old Ember and her 10-year-old sister Aireyana were riding their bikes this weekend when they saw a familiar cat dart off into the woods. They decided to chase it, but just as Ember followed the cat into a bushy area, she realized they weren’t alone. A strange man appeared from the undergrowth, gave Ember an odd look, and began pulling her away by her arm.
“I looked back, and it was someone grabbing me, and he said something like, ‘If you don’t…,’” she told KOMO News of the terrifying incident. In that moment, the 7-year-old remembered what her father, Robbie Medina, had previously taught her about “stranger danger.” The sisters fought back against their attacker, kicking him, and, ultimately, pulling free from his grasp.
“[Ember] was screaming and kicking him in the shin. She kicked him in the shin twice,” Aireyana told Q13 News. As soon as Ember broke free and began running for home, the stranger turned his sights toward Aireyana, grabbing her. She was ready, though, just as her sister had been. “He grabbed me right here. And pulled me off my bike. I slapped him and got back on my bike,” she recalled.
The girls immediately alerted their father to what had transpired and he rushed outside to try to catch the man who had nearly abducted his daughters. After finding the stranger had already fled the scene, Medina called authorities to report what had happened. “They were saying, ‘Daddy there’s a man in the bush! There’s a man in the bush!’ and I came barreling outside, but by the time I got here, he was already gone,” said Medina.
According to IJR, police searched for the man who attempted to kidnap the girls but could find no sign of him. He is described as a muscular, white man in his 20s. The suspect is about 5’10” with dark hair, a goatee, and a tattoo on his shoulder.
Medina is glad that he taught his daughters to fight back against anyone who might attack them, but he is understandably leery that such a close call transpired so near to his home. “I told them to kick anywhere they have to and get away as fast as you can,” he said. “It only takes 30 seconds for them to just disappear forever. If I’m not out there, or an adult, they won’t be outside, not even in the bush connected to our house; apparently that’s not even safe.”
This alarming report serves as an important reminder for parents to coach their children regarding what to do in an emergency situation such as the one these brave sisters faced in the woods. Had they not recalled what their father had taught them about fighting back if grabbed by a stranger, this story could have had a much worse, more sinister ending. Assailants looking for an easy target will often let their victim go if it appears overtaking them will be a struggle, and that is exactly what Ember and Aireyana showed the man who tried to abduct them.