Importance of ‘stranger danger’ talks highlighted by Kalamazoo attack

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(NEWSCHANNEL 3) – The brave young girl who escaped after a sexual assault in Kalamazoo Wednesday night isn’t the first to find herself in a bad situation, and unfortunately she likely won’t be the last.

Newschannel 3 is looking at the important information for parents to share with kids that could save their lives.

Just a few years ago, eleven-year-old Mackenzie Stafford escaped a kidnapping in her White Pigeon neighborhood. She didn’t know it at the time, but police say the man who kidnapped her had killed Jodi Parack several years earlier and Mackenzie very well could have been next.

Police and self-defense experts say there are reasons kids like Mackenzie and the victim of Wednesday night’s kidnapping in Kalamazoo escape.

“Punching him or kicking him, and I turned around and did both things, and it worked,” said Mackenzie when Newschannel 3 spoke with her. “But then he got me again, and the next thing, I kicked him in his zone and then I left. I left my bike there.”

“Head up, eyes up, eye contact when they speak to somebody, erect posture, looking around a lot and not being consumed by their electronics,” said Amir Khillah, who was a self-defense expert with Lightning Kicks when Newscahnnel 3 spoke with him. “You are not even thinking of it at all, it needs to be an autonomic response, you’ve conditioned your body to react a certain way under a certain stress.”

Police say parents should start having the ‘stranger danger’ talk with their kids as young as three years old.

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