Teen employee stops kidnapping attempt in Mission Valley, young girl saved

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — On Thursday, an attempted kidnapping took place right outside the gates of a longtime bounce house in Mission Valley. Thanks to the quick actions of a 17-year-old employee, the child is safe.

“She’s my hero,” said Kim Miller, the bounce house manager. “She’s got younger brothers and sisters, so I think that’s what kicked in yesterday for her.”

Miller is talking about Jasmine, a 17-year-old employee who saved the little girl and put safety into perspective. Jasmine acted swiftly when she witnessed the attempted kidnapping right in front of her.

“She tore out the door, bumped her elbow really bad and ran past me and pulled the child from a man’s grasp,” said Miller.

Jasmine did not appear on camera since her boss gave her the day off on Friday.

Despite Jasmine’s brave actions, experts said having an honest conversation with children is a good place to start preparing them for potential danger.

“Encouraging kids to trust their inner self to know that if the situation doesn’t feel good and that little red flag goes up in your body … it probably isn’t feeling good and come find a trusted adult,” said Aubrey Landau, a therapist at Kaiser Pediatric.

“That way they can start trusting themselves to know when situations aren’t feeling safe. But also to be reassured that the parent or the caregiver has got their back to take care of them,” Landau said.

And if anyone has these kids’ backs, it’s a brave teenager at her first job – just trying to take care of the kids.

“She really knew it was happening and, and kicked into gear,” said Miller.

This incident was the second attempted kidnapping near Mission Valley Mall this week. According to police, the alleged suspect, 42-year-old Rene Lujan, was arrested Thursday afternoon following a traffic stop along eastbound 94 at Home Avenue.