Who is Jared Paul Stanga? Florida 11-year-old girl fights off knife-wielding sex offender in terrifying video
WEST PENSACOLA, FLORIDA: An 11-year-old girl fought off a knife-wielding sex offender who tried to kidnap her at a bus stop. The young girl was waiting for the bus when the man approached her. This frightening incident took place on Tuesday morning, May 18.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Office released the terrifying surveillance footage that captured the incident. On Facebook, the sheriff's office wrote: “Around 7:00 this morning, a white Dodge Journey pulled up to an 11-year-old girl waiting at a bus stop on Old Corry Field Road and Perdido Street. As you could see in this video.”
“A Hispanic male exits the vehicle reportedly armed with a knife. The suspect then grabs the little girl and a struggle ensues. She was able to fight and break free from the suspect's grip. She is safe and with her family. If you have any information about this incident, call the ECSO at 850-436-9620 or Crime Stoppers at 850-433-STOP,” the statement read.
The 30-year-old sex offender has reportedly been identified as Jared Paul Stanga. Now in police custody, he has been charged with the attempted kidnapping of a child under 13 and aggravated assault and battery. Stanga’s extensive criminal history, including past sexual crimes against children, suggested his intention to commit a heinous crime, police said.
“I cannot help to think that this could have ended very differently,” Sheriff Chip Simmons said at a news conference on Tuesday evening. “Had this 11-year-old victim not thought to fight and to fight and to just never give up, then this could have ended terribly.”
As per the Washington Post, this incident wasn’t the minor’s first run-in with Stanga. About two weeks before this frightening incident, Stanga allegedly approached her at the same bus stop and began speaking to her in Spanish. Feeling uneasy, she walked away and reported the incident to her mom, teachers, and school principal. For two weeks, the girl’s mother accompanied her to the bus stop. Tuesday was the first day since that incident when her mother wasn’t there, Simmons said.
“We believe that this person has either been watching her specifically or was walking around, looking for an opportunity. Either way, it’s bad,” Simmons said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “His intent [was] to get her into his car and from that point on, we have no idea what horrors would have awaited this poor little girl.”
Reportedly, after the girl’s family reported the incident to the authorities, about fifty officers from the Sheriff’s department did intensive legwork to find Stanga. Simmons said they knocked on doors, surveilled possible suspects, and stopped any white SUV that passed by.
Officers eventually identified Stanga as the owner of the car even though it appeared he had recently painted the vehicle. Simmons said that other videos also helped identify Stanga as well. This included security footage from a grocery store after the attempted kidnapping that showed his arms covered in the blue slime that the girl was playing with. Officers arrested him at his home in Pensacola around 5 p.m. without incident, according to Simmons.