There may be nothing more terrifying for a parent then the thought of a child becoming a victim of an unspeakable crime. That very nightmare scenario almost came true for one brave Los Angeles father, until he took matters into his own hands. One summer night in 2015, Tim entered his 12-year-old daughter’s bedroom and, to his horror, realized that she was missing. He noticed that her window had been left cracked open. Immediately, with no time to lose, Tim and his son began a frantic search through their neighborhood for any trace of Tim’s missing daughter. Thankfully, she was found at the last minute before entering the vehicle of a predator she had met and developed a relationship with on the internet.
Tim wasted no time taking action against this dangerous individual. He pulled the man out of his truck, then skillfully knocked him to the ground, employing self-defense techniques. Afterwards, Tim took a photograph of the man’s face, then pinned him on the ground while waiting for authorities to arrive. The suspect was then arrested and apprehended by police. He was accused of sending destructive material to a minor and meeting with a child with the intention of engaging in unlawful sexual activity.
It was later revealed that this 27-year-old man had met Tim’s daughter by creating fake internet profiles, posing as a 15-year-old boy. Not only had he been sending sexually explicit messages to Tim’s daughter, he had also sent her lewd images of himself. This communication had gone undetected long enough for the man to learn about the girl’s whereabouts and conspire to lure her into running off with him for a sexual exploit.
Subsequent to this harrowing experience, Tim has set down some strict new ground rules regarding internet use. He has completely banned his daughter for the time being from using online social media websites. Tim has expressed his very real concern that had he not caught the man who was attempting to flee with his daughter, he probably would never have seen her again alive.
Sharing this story can help to raise awareness of the very real threat kids and teens face online from those who would seek to do them harm. Often youth have not developed the discernment necessary to recognize potential danger. They are susceptible to flattery, deception, and the manipulative grooming techniques used by sexual predators. All parents and caregivers should be aware of these dangers and monitor the online interactions of the minors entrusted to their care. This information just may save a life!