Poplar Bluff deputy praised for thwarting attempted kidnapping - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Poplar Bluff, MO

Poplar Bluff deputy praised for thwarting attempted kidnapping

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS ) - A local mother has high praise for the sheriff's deputy who stopped the attempted kidnapping of her daughter.

A trip to the store Sunday night became a living nightmare for a local teenager as a stranger tried to snatch her right off the street.

She's shaken up of course, but unharmed and she wants everyone to know she's thankful that Deputy Bo Skinner stopped when he did.

What started out as a bike ride to the store, ended with a man behind bars and a mother thankful to have her daughter home safe.

"I was riding my bike to the grocery store like my mom had me to do to get a loaf of bread," said 15-year-old Jessika Uetrecht. 

The mile long ride from her house is something Jessika did often.

"When I got halfway there, a couple of guys honked in a car," she said. 

Jessika says she had no idea who the two men were and she got scared when they pulled in front of her.

"I kept on going and about hit the side mirror of their car because I was keep on going trying to get away from them," she said. 

Deputy Bo Skinner was returning from a call and saw what happened on westbound Business 60 in front of him.

"I observed the driver stopped his vehicle in front of the bicycle and get out from the driver's seat and he walked around the front of the vehicle and then approached the young female that was riding the bicycle," Deputy Skinner said.

Deputy Skinner did a U-turn and pulled up to where Jessika was.

"He had his hands on my handle bars trying to get me to put my bike in his trunk and to get in the car with him," Jessika said of the stranger. 

At that point Deputy Skinner got out of his car.

"When I asked him what was going on he just seemed somewhat puzzled and dazed. Kind of stepped back from the young female and the bike a little bit," Skinner said. "Then he just stodd there a looked at me.  He didn't make any reply whatsoever."

Jessika rode off on her bike, bought her bread and told her mom what happened when she got home.

"He has got to be a guardian angel," said Misty Robinson, Jessika's mom. "God had to send him my way because if it wasn't for him, no telling where my duaghter would have been."

"I'm just thankful that I was able to possibly prevent or deter a tragic situation and we have a family in Butler County that still has their loved ones with them today," Skinner said. 

Now Jessika and her mom says she's not riding her bike alone anymore.

"I'm either going to have my little brother with me or a large group of my friends," said Jessika. 

The man accused of stopping Jessika is 52-year-old Howard Brown Jr.  He faces attempted kidnapping, driving while intoxicated, and driving under suspension charges. His bond was set at $25,000.

Jessika's mom calls Deputy Skinner her angel in disguise.  He says he was just doing his job.

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