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Kids foil kidnapping attempt from Purcell travel stop

PURCELL, Okla. - Police are looking for a man who tried to kidnap three kids while stealing their car. He ran after they fought back.

It happened at 3 a.m. at the Travel Star Plaza in Purcell.

Casie Lewis said she was driving her three kids, ages 13, 11, and nine, along with their two dogs, one of which was an English Mastiff, from Texas back to Kansas City when she stopped along the way to fill up the tank and grab some coffee.

She said she wasn't away from the car for more than five minutes, but when she exited the store, the car had vanished, along with the sleeping kids inside.

"I wasn't sure if it was just because I was tired, because I parked the car somewhere else," she said.

Then, she heard honking coming from across the road where her vehicle was hung up on the curb.

"I got over there and my kids were all pretty shaken up," she said.

A stranger had jumped into the driver's seat and started to pull away.

"As soon as he got in the car, he slammed the door real loud and woke her up," Lewis said, referring to her 13-year-old in the front seat. "And she was fast asleep."

Lewis said she had prepared her kids for situations like this.

"You should hit, bite, scratch, do whatever you need to do to get away from them," Lewis said. "Because the longer they have you, the farther they take you."

So, her daughter fought the man trying to drive them away.

"She started hitting him and whatever," Lewis said. "She said she was turned sideways kicking him. He grabbed her hair and was hitting her head, trying to get her to quit hitting him, against the window or something."

"Probably did a good thing," said Purcell Police Det. Sgt. Scott Stephens. "It was a dangerous thing to do because we don't know if the guy was armed or not."

The kids were able to describe the suspect as a white man with a beard and mustache, wearing a brown Carhartt-style jacket, a gray stocking cap, and sweatpants. They said he escaped in a white extended cab pickup.

Now, police are on the lookout for him.

Meanwhile, the family is safely together and on their way home.

"I was just extremely proud of my kids, the way that they dealt with everything," Lewis said.