An 11-year-old Florida girl seen on viral video fending off a man who allegedly tried to kidnap her from a bus stop earlier this week has credited toy slime and "Law & Order: SVU" with helping to catch the suspect.
The girl detailed her quick thinking in an interview with the "Today" show on Thursday.
"The man got out of his vehicle holding a knife, came towards me and I tried to run but he caught me," the girl told the outlet.
Video shared by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday shows the girl waiting alone for a school bus in West Pensacola at around 7 a.m. that morning when a white SUV pulls up. A man can be seen jumping out and charging at the girl, who tries to run.
After a brief struggle, the suspect is seen leaving the girl and running back to his vehicle.
At the time the suspect charged her, the girl said she had been playing with homemade blue slime – something she knew she could use as evidence thanks to her favorite TV show, "Law & Order: SVU."
"I was able to get the slime onto his upper arm and a little bit on his lower arm," she said. "I knew that might be better evidence if the cops do find him."
Escambia County Sheriff Chip W. Simmons had told reporters at a press conference Tuesday night that the suspect was found with the slime still on his arms.
"The victim at the time of the attempted abduction was playing with blue slime as a toy," Simmons said. "She had blue slime and it was all on her hands. The suspect when we caught him had blue slime all over his own arms."
But it was more than just a TV show and toy slime that helped save the girl, according to Tampa-based martial arts instructor Anthony Kuntz, who told FOX 13 News that, by fighting back, the 11-year-old had "bought enough time to save herself."
"She was such a hard target that this person became afraid, he understood there was a time constraint to be able to take this little girl, so he had to leave," he said.
Jared Stanga looked down and shook his head as the judge read charges against him in court Wednesday.
The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Jared Paul Stanga, was arrested Tuesday afternoon. He was charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault and battery.
Stanga appeared Wednesday in court, where a judge ordered his bond set at just over $1.5 million.