Federal Way girl honored for escaping would-be abductor

Isabel Carpenter -
Isabel Carpenter
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Ten-year-old Isabel Carpenter was recently honored by King County with a "911 Hero" award for her quick thinking when a stranger approached her this past February and attempted to persuade her to get in a car while she walked home from school.

Instead of getting in the car, Carpenter ran to a nearby residence and started pounding on the front door, asking for help, until the would-be abductor drove off. She then got home to her mother, Connie Carpenter, who called 911 to report the incident. (LISTEN TO THE CALL)

The elder Carpenter was happy her daughter was recognized for doing the smart thing in a dangerous situation.

"I'm very proud of her," Connie Carpenter said.

According to Connie, Isabel was well aware of what to do in the situation she found herself in last February.

"She's been told many times not to talk to strangers," Connie said. "It's just a thing we've always talked about before."

The younger Carpenter was honored at the first ever Youth Education Safety (YES) Fair at Renton earlier this month. King County Executive Dow Constantine was in attendance, along with Lorrie Broming, the 911 dispatcher who handled her call.

"I am so proud of Isabel for her fast thinking, and I know local parents and guardians can use her heroism as an example when they talk about safety with they children they care for," Constantine said.

The YES Fair is part of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children's annual Take 25 Campaign, which is aimed at encouraging parents to take just 25 minutes to talk to kids about safety. The local fair focused on "providing lifesaving tools and tips on how to prevent and recognize dangerous situations."

According to national statistics, approximately 780,000 children in the United States go missing each year.

"We know that teaching children preventative safety measures, including how to call 911 in an emergency, makes a difference. Countless kids every year have escaped from bad situations by knowing what to do in a real emergency," said Marlys Davis, King County E-911 Program Manager.

Connie Carpenter agreed with Davis, saying that parents should "just talk to (their) children" about these kind of situations.

Some of the information that was shared with YES Fair attendees included:

• One-third of attempted child abductions occur between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on a weekday, when many children are not supervised. Parents should let children know that if anyone makes them feel scared or uncomfortable, that they should trust their feelings and get away from that person immediately.

• 41 percent of attempted abductions involve children between the ages of 10 and 14. Parents should teach older children like these to always have a friend with them while walking home from school, biking, or waiting for the bus.

• 72 percent of attempted abductions involve a vehicle. Parents should let children know that any adult asking for directions or help for finding something like a lost puppy should not be asking a child for help; they should be asking other adults.

• Children that have escaped abductions used the following methods: 52 percent walked or ran away from the suspect; 28 percent, yelled, kicked or pulled away to attract attention; 19 percent were rescued by a good Samaritan or parent that intervened.

Isabel's call to 911

Click here to listen to Isabel's conversation with the 911 operator regarding her would-be abductor.

Learn more

To learn more about the county's 911 services, visit A new service has also recently been rolled out called "Smart911," which allows people to register their phone number with a secure website, and allows for a bevy of information to be listed if a 911 call is ever made from that number. To learn more about that service, visit


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