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ST. GEORGE — A St. George mother says her worst nightmare "hit way too close to home" Tuesday.
A man reportedly tried to lure Lori Holyoak's 8-year-old daughter into his van while she was in her garage, according to St. George police.
The incident happened about 4:45 p.m. while the girl was at her Tonaquint Terrace subdivision home, putting on a bike helmet to ride to a friend's house. The girl said the man parked in front of her house.
"He came and parked on the side of the road and said, 'Your mom's gone and she wanted me to come and pick you up to go and give you to her.' So I threw my helmet and ran inside and shut the garage," said the girl, whose mother asked that her name not be used.
The girl told an older sibling what had happened. When they looked out the window, the van was gone.
Despite her scare, Holyoak said Wednesday she is very proud of her daughter.
I have my daughter because of the things we told her and drilled her on. It's so important to talk to your kids and not hide these kind of things. They need to know.
"I'm super, super impressed with the way she handled it," she said.
Holyoak said she often talked to her daughters about stranger danger, she and encourages other families to do the same with their children.
"I have my daughter because of the things we told her and drilled her on," she said, holding back tears. "It's so important to talk to your kids and not hide these kind of things. They need to know.
"So many of us think, 'It will never happen to me.' Yeah, it will happen to you," she said.
The girl said she didn't say a word to the man.
"My mom usually always tells us not to go near somebody that you don't know because at school we had an assembly to talk about that," she said, "so I knew exactly what to do. I'm kind of happy that I did because if I had went with that man, I'd have never seen my family again."
The girl described the van as gold colored with stripes. She said the driver was a white man, with long hair and a beard — both white and gray.
Police are asking for anyone with information on the man to call 435-627-4300.
Contributing: Stace Hall, Ashley Kewish