Father says teaching daughter survivor skills helped keep her alive during Livingston kidnapping
SPRINGFIELD - Two Livingston Parish teenagers reportedly relied on their survival skills to thwart a kidnapping attempt when a man grabbed them and forced them into his vehicle on Friday.
Phillip Pigott is the father of one of the victims, a 14-year-old who was with her 15-year-old friend when they were both kidnapped and in an interview with WBRZ, Pigott said his daughter and friend typically enjoy a quiet walk to a local Dollar General in their small town of Springfield. But on Friday, a frightening encounter with a stranger on their way back from the store completely upended the girl's afternoon.
As the teens headed home from the store, a man in an SUV, Pigott said, approached them and forced them into his vehicle.
What the stranger didn't realize was that Pigott, a veteran of the armed services, had long ago prepared his daughter for such a situation.
"I told her if that ever happens, fight, fight, fight," Pigott told WBRZ.
He also warned his daughter that if someone attempted to abduct her by putting her into a moving vehicle, she should never let them make it to the interstate as it would then become more difficult to escape.
With her father's advice in mind, the teen fought the man off while she was in the front passenger seat of his vehicle, repeatedly attempting to grab the steering wheel from him.
This, according to Pigott, caused the vehicle to crash, totaling it.
Pigott says at this point, his daughter and her friend saw their moment to escape and took it.
After fleeing the damaged SUV and grabbing at least one of their phones to take with them, the girls tracked down a few nearby good Samaritans and asked for help. The locals immediately stepped in, Pigott said, by restraining the would-be kidnapper until authorities arrived.
After the harrowing ordeal, Pigott says his daughter collapsed due to a concussion but is now on the mend; her friend is also safe and sound.
Pigott praised the girls for their quick thinking and tenacity during the frightening experience.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office revealed Saturday, Albert Lavigne, 39, was arrested for the attack. He was booked into jail in Livingston Parish Monday after being released from the hospital.
Click HERE to read more about the investigation.
Current statistics reveal that though hundreds of thousands of juveniles are reported missing to the Federal Bureau of Investigation each year, abductions are relatively rare.
According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), abductions by strangers are the rarest type of cases of missing children and that strangers are most likely to attempt to abduct a child as they head to or from school, the center said.
A February 2020 Reuters article, likewise, said statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicate that on average, fewer than 350 people under the age of 21 have been abducted by strangers in the United States per year since 2010.
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