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When An Attempted Kidnapping Hits Home

attempted kidnapping

When we first got married, we decided to raise our family in Aliso Viejo. We wanted to raise our children in a community where they could ride their bikes freely outside, climb trees and explore their community around them. I guess that I have been a little naive in thinking that we have been living in this bubble of a perfect community. Geez, I don’t even lock the front door on the house. I got a major wake-up call this week after learning about the attempted kidnapping in Aliso Viejo – boy did it hit home.

My kids have spent countless hours inside of the Aliso Viejo Barnes and Noble where a 17-year-old-girl was almost kidnapped while reading a book inside of the store. According to ABC7 news, the attempted kidnapper tried to pull the girl to the store exit around 2pm on Saturday.

“He placed her in a bear hug when she was reading a book, removed her about 20 to 25 feet, forcing her to leave against her will,” Jim Amormino with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.


I have brought my kids there for pajama story times, to get the newest Harry Potter release and even just to hangout at the indoor Starbucks. I have been guilty of letting my kids explore the children’s section while I sit reading to one of my children – never thinking that anything like this incidient could happen.

I feel that this is such an important message for all of us parents living in Orange County or across the Country. We should not let our guard down, no matter how safe we feel the environment is for our children. Terrible things can happen in the safest communities, and we have to do our best to protect our children.

What tips do you have to share for keeping your kids safe?

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  1. One of my daughter’s friends was taken from a very public place when they were in kindergarten. Fortunately, the parents were on it within seconds and chased the guy down and they got their son back. Chances are, this guy (who had priors) would have done unspeakable things to him and/or killed him. It’s something I’ve never gotten over and I have to admit I live in fear of something happening to my girls. Nowhere is safe and it’s so sad it has to be this way.

    • Wow. How scary Carolyn. Has your daughter’s friend recovered?

  2. Just a little perspective. Kids are just as safe now as when we were kids. But our parents taught us about Stranger Danger and to be aware of our surroundings. They taught us how to run away if we were in an uncomfortable situation. They taught us the buddy system.

    I’m WAY more nervous about driving my kids in my own car – than anything I see on the news. It’s way more dangerous than anything else I do on a daily basis. This “Stop Worrying About Your Children!” is an interesting take on the whole thing:

    • What a great perspective. Thank you for sharing the link Michele.

      • The suspect in this case happens to be a very good friend of mine I’ve known him for the better part of eleven years and can tell you he was not trying to kidnap the girl. Let’s be real who tries to kidnap somebody in broad daylight in a crowded bookstore then after a botched attempt walks calmly away only to sit down inside the Starbucks that’s also located inside of the bookstore to have coffee with a friend from the vineyard church which he attends on a regular basis. I wonder why none of the media outlets showed CCTV footage from that day maybe because the media tells whole lies an half truths. At worst he hugged the girl without her permission but that’s a very long stretch away from attempting to kidnap someone.

  3. It is more likely that a child be lured away than grabbed violently as in this case. The person may ask the child for help finding a missing puppy, say they are lost and ask for directions, or say that the parent has asked him to pick up the child today because of an emergency.

    My Mom gave us a code word. She told us that if there ever was an emergency, she would tell the person this word, and we should ask for it. Thankfully, it never came to that.

    It is also most likely that a child be kidnapped by someone the child knows, namely a non-custodial parent. Thankfully child abduction is rare, but as it should be, those cases do get much media attention. It is a parent’s worst nightmare, and law enforcement know that time is of the essence in missing child cases.

    Most kids are pretty good judges of character. If something feels off or wrong to them, they should be taught to act accordingly. Walk away. Get help. Get the attention of someone else.

    It shouldn’t mean living in fear. It should more mean being aware, and having the confidence that they could get out of such a situation, or not fall for it to begin with. The people who prey on kids go after the ones who they believe will fall victim to their schemes. They seek out kids who seem too trusting, lack self-confidence, and who won’t fight back.

  4. It is so scary when things like this happen close to us. But our kids are much safer now than when I was a kid and we were not taught how to fight back. More and more, when I hear these stories, the kid got away because she struggled and screamed and whatever. That somebody tried is scary – that it was only an attempt is reason to hope and to teach self-defense techniques.

  5. It’s absolutely terrifying I worry all the time, we always hold hands.


  1. Family Safety Fair - OC Mom Blog - [...] recently wrote about the attempted kidnapping that happening in Aliso Viejo this week. For those parents wanting to learn…

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