How to talk to your kids about stranger danger after Athena Strand case

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 6:27 PM CST
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - The news of seven-year-old Athena Strand, who police said was kidnapped and killed by a contracted FedEx driver, is still on the minds of so many, especially parents.

And when parents took their students back to school Monday, dressed in all pink for Strand, many hugged their kids a bit closer.

“It definitely makes you want to hold your kids a little tighter every night because you don’t, you don’t know, like if something if and when is going to happen,” said Tauna Luck, a mom.

Because “you don’t know,” is exactly why Sherman police said parents and guardians should take a moment to have conversations about safety with their kids.

“It is a very real danger, and I know a lot of people might want to shield their kids from the reality of the world, but it is very important to let them know this danger is out there,” said Sherman Police’s Sgt. Brett Mullen.

Mullen said it’s important to talk to your kids about never answering the door when home alone and make sure an adult is supervising them if they’re outside.

“Safety in numbers is a thing,” said Mullen.

He also said to discuss what kind of tactics abductors may use.

“It sounds kind of cliché but offering kids candy, luring them with an animal of some sort, or just having them come to a car to ask questions,” said Mullen.

And, Mullen said, let your kids know what to do if a stranger tries any of those tactics.

“If a stranger approaches them to run away, to find an adult,” said Mullen. “Things such as that can just help them get an advantage and not just become a victim.”

While understanding stranger danger is critical, Mullen said most of the time the victim knows their abductor.

“Strangers or non-family abductions are very rare,” said Mullen. “About 1 percent of those cases. So they are a very rare thing, but they are probably the most terrifying thing a parent can experience, so it’s something we need to be concerned about and take the proper precautions,” said Mullen.

He said it’s a tough conversation, but one that might just save a life.