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Boy fends off would-be kidnapper with skateboard

***Embargo Kansas City*** The 12-year-old said the man tried to grab him, so he defended himself with the only thing within reach.

HARRISONVILLE, Mo.– A boy’s parents are grateful their son is safe after he was able to fend off a man who was attempting to kidnap him.

On a quiet side street, just hours after the last day of school, 12-year-old Matt Curtis was skateboarding home from a youth center in downtown Harrisonville when he noticed a strange black van.

“He started following me at that pole,” Curtis recalled. “I was really scared.”

Something didn’t seem right, so he turned down an alley thinking the van would pass but the driver kept following him.

“He got out of the car and said, ‘Get in the van,’” Curtis said. “He got this close.”

The 12-year-old said the man tried to grab him, so he defended himself with the only thing within reach.

“I’d gotten off my skateboard to run down, so that’s when I thought to hit him with my skateboard,” he said. “I hit him in the head then, started running down.”

It was enough to help him escape back to his home as quickly as he could.

His mother, Amy Allphin, immediately called the police.

“He told me as soon as he got home,” she said. “All I could do was hold him and cry.”

It all happened within two blocks of the family’s house, on a route where their children walk frequently.

“I never thought that would happen in a place like this,” Allphin said.

Curtis’ parents are glad they talk to their children about what to do in a situation like that.

“As parents, you don’t want to have that conversation, but in today’s world it’s necessary,” Allphin said. “I’m proud of the way he handled it.”

They said their son did exactly what he was supposed to do even though he was scared.

The family is sharing their story in hopes of catching the driver of the van. Curtis said he noticed a tattoo on the man’s ankle.

“I hope he’s found before he tries to kidnap another kid,” Curtis said.