Charlotte County Teen Receives Florida Department Of Law Enforcement “Young Hero Award”

The Published Reporter | by Jessica Mcfadyen | September 14, 2020

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL – On October 29th, 2019, at 8:34 am, Charlotte County Deputies responded to Kenesaw Street, Port Charlotte, Florida to investigate allegations that a person attempted to lure a middle school student into his vehicle while she was walking to school.

Hailey Canfield, a student in Charlotte County, reported a SUV that had pulled up beside her and the driver began asking her questions through an open window. The driver then told her to get into the car and she said, “No” and ran away from the vehicle. 

During the incident, there was an adult witness that was watching the vehicle and when the situation did not look right began walking over to the girl, but the vehicle drove off. 

She reported the incident to an adult that was nearby and contacted the Sheriff’s Office. Based on the description of the driver and vehicle provided by the student and witness, deputies were able to locate and identify the driver. 

The School Resource Officer curriculum contains up-to-date material provided by the Florida Attorney General’s Cyber Safety Program for Middle and High School students, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s NetSmartz Internet and Personal Safety material utilized for kindergarten through fifth grade students. The programs not only provide educational material but empower students on how to protect themselves in dangerous situations.

Miss Canfield was able to recognize a dangerous situation and seek assistance from the closest available adult and then contact the Sheriff’s Office for assistance. She was able to provide accurate details of not only the vehicle but also the suspect resulting in the Sheriff’s Office being able to locate the subject quickly, preventing any additional incidents.

We are proud of the bravery Miss. Canfield exhibited on that October day. She will be celebrated today through an online ceremony hosted by FDLE. This annual event is held to remember Florida’s missing children, recognize the state’s efforts in child protection, and educate Floridians on child safety and abduction prevention.

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