Video: Arizona Man Appears To Try To Kidnap 5th-Grade Girl

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A bone-chilling moment featuring an Arizona man with a “history of violence” was captured on video, prompting a local school district to issue tips for students and parents.

Joseph Ruiz, a 37-year-old Arizona man, was arrested after he was allegedly caught on video attempting to kidnap an elementary school student. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Joseph Ruiz, a 37-year-old Arizona man, was arrested after he was allegedly caught on video attempting to kidnap an elementary school student on a Friday morning in Glendale, Arizona. It was just before 8 a.m. when an otherwise mundane walk to school turned terrifying for the 5th-grade student. Ruiz might have gotten away with it if not for a neighbor’s security video.

As seen in the footage, the unnamed child was walking in a neighborhood near North 43rd Avenue and West Peoria Avenue in Glendale, on her way to Sunset Elementary, when a silver sedan was spotted waiting for a young girl to walk by. After making a quick turn in the middle of the road and pulling over near where the girl was walking on the sidewalk, Ruiz is seen getting out of the car before trying to grab the girl in broad daylight.

The would-be victim quickly ran off, screaming “no,” as Ruiz chased after the young girl. Thankfully, the 5th-grader was able to outrun the suspected kidnapper as she ran towards three other students, who were also walking to school and who didn’t hesitate to help. According to neighbors, the three students huddled around the girl after she got away.

“They hid her because the man was chasing her,” recalled Amcy Borquez, who said her little sister and two younger cousins are friends with the victim and helped her get to school. “I think they were very brave for their age,” Borquez added. “I’m telling them all day, like you’re heroes.”

The man calmly walked back to his vehicle, but he didn’t get far. Police were able to review the video of the alleged attempted kidnapping and were able to identify and later find the vehicle, Arizona’s Family reported. Just hours after the attempted abduction, Joseph Ruiz was taken into custody, facing kidnapping and custodial interference felony charges. The police revealed that he has a violent criminal history.

“I would note that he has a history of violence. He was convicted of an aggravated assault, a class 3 dangerous felony, after having stabbed his mother in the neck,” explained the state’s attorney in Ruiz’s court appearance video.

Joseph Ruiz
Joseph Ruiz (Photo Credit: Police)

Nayeli Martinez, whose home security camera captured the attempted abduction and helped detectives track down Ruiz, was terrified by what she saw, especially since her 11-year-old son, Nico, attends school with the victim.

“Oh my god. It gave me goosebumps,” Martinez admitted. “It’s very scary knowing that it happened right in front of my house, knowing that my kid, my son goes to that school,” the distraught mother continued with Nico chiming in to say, “Thank God I’m safe.”

According to a letter Sunset Elementary sent parents, the victim noticed the suspect follow her from the moment she left her apartment. Of course, this caused parents to fear for their children’s safety, prompting the school to provide tips for both students and parents:

Tips for Students:

  • Stay alert and cautious. STAY OFF OF CELL PHONES AND BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.
  • Travel to and from school in groups. DO NOT TRAVEL ALONE.
  • DO NOT TALK TO STRANGERS.
  • DO NOT APPROACH STRANGERS.
  • DO NOT GO ANYWHERE WITH A STRANGER, NO MATTER THE REASON HE OR SHE MAY GIVE.

Tips for Parents:

  • Know whom your child is with and where he or she is at all times.
  • Establish consistent and firm procedures for picking up your child at school, at a friend’s home, etc. Don’t let your child accept rides from anyone with whom you have not made previous arrangements – even if they say they are a police officer, neighbor, teacher or friend of the family.
  • KEEP OUR SCHOOL OFFICE INFORMED OF CHANGES IN TELEPHONE NUMBERS AND EMERGENCY CONTACTS.
  • Make sure your child knows how to get in touch with you at all times.
  • Teach your child a code word to use.
  • Teach your child that it is okay to run away or to scream if anyone is making him or her feel uncomfortable or do something that is inappropriate.
Joseph Ruiz
The girl was able to outrun Joseph Ruiz. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Parents were encouraged to review these safety tips with their children, regardless of the child’s age, and for good reason. According to The Blaze, “Data from 2019 shows that Arizona has the second-most missing people per 100,000 citizens, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System – a national centralized repository and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases across the United States. Only Alaska had a higher rate of missing people.”

Of course, with over 600,000 people going missing each year in the United States, these safety tips are critical for everyone, everywhere. Sadly, we never know when danger might be lurking, waiting to strike, and the best defense is to be aware and prepared. Would your kids know what to do if approached by a kidnapper? Now is the time to ensure they do—before disaster strikes.