Girl, 11, fights off knife-wielding ‘sex attacker’ who tried to abduct her

An 11-year-old girl fought off a knife-wielding sex offender who jumped out of a van in a depraved bid to abduct her.

Surveillance footage captures the suspect pull up in the white vehicle next to a bus stop in West Pensacola, Florida, USA, at around 7am local time on Tuesday.

The man, who sheriffs later claimed was Jared Paul Stanga, ran towards her with a knife in his hand, when the girl got to her feet and tried to escape, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Officials claim the suspect is a convicted sex offender. He grabbed the girl, who was playing with a 'blue slime' toy, in a headlock and begins dragging her toward the van, which still had its engine running.

The brave girl managed to fight him off and escape, he stumbled to the ground and she was able to pry herself free.

The suspect ran back to the car and drove away.

He tried to disguise the van by painting it a different colour, but sheriffs arrested Stanga, 30, later on Tuesday evening. He still had 'blue slime' on his clothes from having wrestled the girl.

He has been charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault and battery.

Sheriff Chip Simmons paid tribute to the bravery of the schoolgirl.

He said: "She fought and she fought and she fought, until finally she was able to break free from her would-be captor.

"My message to her is that is my hero, she did not give up."

Simmons said she had been left traumatised and with some scratches.

Stanga has an "extensive" criminal past according to the sheriff that includes child sex abuse charges.

He claimed he had approached his target two weeks ago and made her feel uncomfortable.

Sheriff Simmons said: "I cannot help to think that this could have ended very different had this 11-year-old victim not thought to fight, and to fight, and to just never give up. This could have ended terribly.

"Our concern was this wasn't his first try."

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