Jared Stanga is a Florida man accused of trying to abduct an 11-year-old girl at a bus stop in Pensacola on May 18, 2021. The sheriff painted a “chilling” picture of the knife-wielding suspect showing up in a white van and trying to kidnap the girl, who fought back.
The girl escaped the kidnapper’s grasp by fighting him and then breaking free “from the suspect’s grip,” the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement on their Facebook page. The girl’s mom told WEAR she used lessons from watching the TV show Law & Order: SVU when he tried to grab her. “”We watch the show ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.’ One thing they’re always talking about is — ‘If they would have left evidence. She told me that at that moment — since she had the slime all over her — she thought, ‘Hey if I put this on him, maybe if I do get taken, this helps the police find me,
Pensacola Police, who shared the post to their own page, described her as “one tough-as-nails little girl.” Stanga is in custody. Sheriff Chip Simmons told WEAR, “I’m not so sure if she actually comprehends what could have happened. She fought like a trooper.”
“Arrested in Attempt Kidnapping: Jared Paul Stanga … Jared Stanga has been arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault and battery,” the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook. Stanga is 30-years-old.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Sheriff’s Department Shared Video of the Attempted Kidnapping
The sheriff’s department shared the above video and wrote, “Video from May 18th, attempted kidnapping. Around 7:00 this morning, a white Dodge Journey pulled up to an 11-year-old girl waiting at a bus stop on Old Corry Field Road and Perdido Street. As you could see in this video. A …male exits the vehicle reportedly armed with a knife.”
Although originally described as Hispanic, the suspect is a white male, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
The sheriff called it a “chilling video” in a news conference.
The sheriff’s office post continued, “The suspect then grabs the little girl and a struggle ensues. She was able to fight and break free from the suspect’s grip. She is safe and with family.”
If you have any information about this incident, “call the ECSO at 850-436-9620 or Crime Stoppers at 850-433-STOP,” the sheriff’s department asked.
Sheriff Chip W. Simmons said in the news conference that he believes a “life was saved.” He said the girl is doing OK and has scratches and some “mental trauma.”
He said that “a white van pulled up. A man left that vehicle and ran toward the 11-year-old victim with something in his hand reported to be a knife. He grabbed her, picked her up, tried to carry her into that van. She fought and fought and fought, and she was able to break through from her would-be captor.”
The man had approached her two weeks ago, and the girl had a “sixth sense that something was wrong.” She told her parents and principal, but he came back again.
2. The Sheriff Said the Suspect’s Vehicle Was Tracked & He Was Found With the Girl’s Blue Slime on His Body
Authorities “have caught the animal who tried to kidnap an 11-year-old girl this morning,” the sheriff said.
He said that authorities “inundated the area with law enforcement after getting that call.” They went house-to-house searching for witnesses. “We knew we had a dangerous felon on the loose.”
They were able to identify his vehicle and tag number. They went to a location where they thought he was and they were able to find the van and the suspect at his home address.
“That van had been freshly painted,” Simmons said, revealing that a silver bumper had been painted with fresh black paint.
“He was wearing the same clothes that the suspect was wearing during this attempted abduction,” the sheriff said. “We obtained various pictures of this suspect in convenience stores.”
He said the victim “was playing with blue slime as a toy. It was on her hands. The suspect when we caught him had blue slime all over his own arms.”
3. Stanga Has an ‘Extensive Criminal History’
The sheriff said Stanga has an “extensive criminal history” that includes “sexual offenses with a child.” He described Stanga’s criminal history as “rather long.” He said authorities were still trying to sort out which cases were convictions and which were not.
The News Journal reported that Stanga has a 2007 child neglect conviction involving sexual allegations and violated probation.
The sheriff called the girl “my hero. She did not give up. She did the right thing, and she fought and fought and fought, and then she went straight to her parents.”
He noted, “This rarely, rarely happens,” but he said the lesson is “fight, fight, fight like your life depends on it.”
4. Stanga’s Facebook Page Contains Pictures of Children & Says He Is ‘Engaged’
According to his Facebook page, Stanga is from Dallas, Texas, and lives in Pensacola, Florida. He described his relationship status as “engaged.”
His page contains pictures of young children playing in a pool. His top post on Facebook encourages people to listen to the Tom MacDonald song “Fake Woke.” That song’s lyrics trash Cardi B, claim segregation doesn’t exist and criticize cancel culture. “I think it’s crazy I’m the one who they labeled as controversial. And Cardi B is the role model for 12-year-old girls,” one of the lyrics says.
In February, Stanga wrote with that song, “If you haven’t heard this listen to it. If you agree with him share this song.”
5. Stanga Was Given $1.5 Million Bail
According to the Pensacola News Journal, bail was set for Stanga at $1.5 million. The newspaper reported that Stanga actually has a wife and that co-workers said he was late to work on Tuesday and acted unusually.
Prosecutor Erin Ambrose said that Stanga “in the bright light of day, attacked a child at a bus stop along a busy road with a knife and attempted to pull her into his car. … He’s obviously a threat to this community,” the newspaper reported.
His defense attorney questioned whether he’s the right suspect, the News Journal reported, saying the girl first said her assailant was Hispanic and couldn’t identify him “definitively” in a photo lineup.