Georgia Teen Thwarts Sexual Assault and Kidnapping with Text Message

If you are a long time reader of the MLN Law blog, you will know I am an ardent opponent of text messaging and driving. In posts like this one, about a grisly anti-texting and driving public service announcement or this one, about a study showing that half of all college students admit to texting while driving, I have made my stance on texting and driving exceedingly clear. But I am not against text messaging altogether, and that stance is thanks in part to a recent news item on a Gwinnett County teenager whose courage and resourcefulness allowed her to use text messaging to save herself from a sexual assault.

The 16-year-old victim, whose name was rightfully kept out of local press, was abducted from her neighborhood by Jose Hernandez-Ruiz on August 20th while walking home from school. According to the police report, the suspect jumped out of a car, grabbed her by her neck, and forced her into the woods near her home.

This quick thinking teenager was able to tell police exact details, such as that two other men in the car were yelling at her attacker in Spanish. She was also able to use the distraction to perform the one action that saved her from assault and may very well have saved her life – she texted friends her whereabouts and they arrived on the scene before the girl could be assaulted or physically injured.

When the quick thinking teen’s friends arrived, Hernandez-Ruiz and the other two men fled, but Gwinnett County Police were later able to find and arrest him. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the 19-year-old suspect remained in custody at the Gwinnett County Detention Center as of Friday, September 4th. He is being charged with kidnapping and sexual battery.

This was an extremely frightening story – a young girl kidnapped out in the open and almost on her own door step, but one that, due to the 16-year-old’s quick thinking, ended in the apprehension of a dangerous man instead of a tragedy. Instead of becoming a victim, this young girl used the technology she had on hand – her cell phone – to save herself and who knows how many potential future victims.

Sure, I still think that it is very important that the general public become informed about the very real dangers involved with auto accidents and cell phones but after reading the story of the brave Gwinnett County teen, I applaud any technology that allows a girl to hold her head up high and stop herself from becoming a victim.

Has a cell phone or text messages ever saved you from harm or worse? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.