Kim Johnson ReportingThe case of Carlie Brucia’s kidnapping and murder is certainly a tragedy. A local psychologist says what makes this case so tough to cope with is that we all saw 11-year old Carlie and her abductor on video tape. Consciously or subconsciously, we connected with this little girl.
He says we've all got to keep this tragedy in perspective. Child abductions by total strangers are very rare. He also reminds us that we've got to empower our children. Tell them to stay in groups-- there is safety in numbers--and help them know the right way to handle encounters with strangers.
Ken Wooden, Child Abduction Expert: “Sometimes it would take five seconds to grab a kid and be away from that block. That car then becomes a cage and in that cage is a real animal.”
A big mistake children commonly make is their willingness to talk to the stranger. Experts say any talking, including a child asking for password, is a NO NO.
Doug Goldsmith PhD, Psychologist: “They should be told scream and run away, and not be told 'I can't talk to strangers'. Anything they do can start to engage a conversation. They should be encouraged to scream and run away."
Experts say classes like karate or self-defense can be empowering, as long as parents don't try and manage their own anxiety through their kids. And if parents find themselves overwhelmed, now might not be a good time to talk about Carlie Brucia's tragedy.
Doug Goldsmith PhD, Psychologist: “It's very important that parents try to contain this themselves, which is why, actually, I hope parents have kept their children away from this information. It's too frightening, too scary for the child."
If you have older children who want to talk about it, you'd want to give them an opportunity to express themselves. And remind them again, how rare this is, and what they can do to protect themselves.