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Tierrasanta family details attempt to lure kids into stranger's car

Posted at 4:57 PM, Jan 11, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Tierrasanta family is detailing a frightening attempt to lure two young kids into a stranger's car.

The incident took place around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, blocks from Tierrasanta Elementary. Amanda Paniagua's younger sister and brother, ages 9 and 7, were walking along Esmeraldas Dr., when a car pulled alongside.

"My brother and sister were walking. They rolled their windows down, rolled the car back ... They said, 'Do you need a ride?' My brother said, 'No.' My sister said, 'No.'"

Paniagua, 19, says the driver was an older Hispanic or Asian woman. Her passenger was a young white man.

"They said, 'Your mom said there was an emergency ... told us to pick you up," said Paniagua.

Paniagua tells us at that moment, her sister did not freeze.

"I don't know what clicked in my sister's head, but her first instinct ... she told my brother to run," said Paniagua.

He did, and she followed. The two eventually ran all the way back to the school. The principal sent out an email to parents later in the day.

"They are scared and traumatized. They didn't think something like that would ever happen to them," said Paniagua.

The childrens' mother was "hysterical" and "horrified," but grateful. It was her repeated lessons talking about similar scenarios that helped her kids get away.

Paniagua says the car the two strangers were in, was an older model grey Toyota Camry or Corolla.