A clever Utah boy screamed for help and used handfuls of rocks to defend himself from a group of men who allegedly tried to lure the boy into a vehicle.
Grayden Dowland and his family live in a neighborhood in Riverton, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City.
Grayden, 10, was walking home from his basketball coach’s house, located just two doors down, on Dec. 19.
The boy makes the short walk regularly, but this time, three men inside a light-colored sedan allegedly tried to coax Grayden into their vehicle with candy.
“They said, ‘Hi’ and I started walking faster,” Grayden told FOX13. “And they said, ‘Get in the backseat, we have some candy.’”
The vehicle followed Grayden closely as the boy approached his family’s front door, which was locked.
In frightening video footage taken by the family’s Nest camera, the vehicle is shown reversing back towards Grayden after observing that he was unable to get inside his house.
Terrified, Grayden grabbed a handful of rocks and could be heard shouting at the men to get away.
“I thought I was going to be kidnapped,” Grayden said.
In an instant, the brave boy fled to his next-door neighbor’s house in hopes of finding refuge. He was fortunate that the neighbor’s door had been left unlocked.
“The door was open so I just ran in and I closed the door and I locked it,” Grayden said.
Video footage revealed the chilling moments that the vehicle still did not leave, but opted to park in a nearby driveway to wait.
David Dowland, Grayden’s father, said the entire family is still troubled over the event.
“It was very real,” Dowland told FOX 13. “I saw the video and it’s gut-wrenching.”
Dowland, who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years, said it was an “eye-opener” that a near-kidnapping could happen to his own child.
“Less than 200 feet. I mean, if kids can’t walk two doors down at 6 o’clock at night, that’s scary,” Dowland said. “[Grayden] was scared to death.”
The Dowland family filed a police report and has implemented a buddy system to keep Grayden and his siblings safe. Grayden’s basketball coach or a parent will accompany the boy home after his evening basketball practices, Dowland said.
Dowland is hopeful the alleged kidnappers can be stopped before they succeed in kidnapping a child.
“Hopefully we can find them,” he said.
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