A 7-year-old Georgia girl managed to scream and kick her way out of a kidnapping attempt in an Atlanta area Walmart by a man out on parole for voluntary manslaughter, authorities said.
Brittney Baxter was alone in the toy aisle of a Bremen, Ga., Walmart Wednesday while her mom was briefly in another section of the store, the family told “Good Morning America.”
As Brittney stood alone, Bremen police say Thomas A. Woods, 25, of Austell, Ga., grabbed her and tried to take her out of the store.
Store video captured Woods trying to silence Brittney while she fought back.
“I was screaming and kicking and trying to get away and he put his hand over my mouth,” Brittney said in an interview in her family’s home just hours after the incident occurred.
Brittney’s fight proved effective as Woods quickly dropped her to make an escape from the store.
“He just dropped me and went and ran off,” Brittney, a second-grader, said.
Surveillance cameras outside the store captured Woods getting into his car. Police were able to put out a detailed alert that resulted in Woods being caught by police less than an hour later in Tallapoosa, Ga., a town about 10 miles west of the store.
Police said Woods was released from state prison in October after serving four years for a 2004 conviction for voluntary manslaughter.
Woods matched the man in the video with Brittney, but denied being in Walmart.
“I didn’t bother nobody, I was never there,” he told reporters after his arrest.
Woods was later charged with attempted kidnapping and is being held at the Haralson County Jail.
Brittney’s family is grateful their daughter is okay, and happy that she is such a fighter.
“I’m very proud of her,” said her dad, Randall Baxter. “I just thank the Lord that she got away.”
Although her mom, Georgeann Baxter, whom Brittney was with at the store, says she is still “scared to death” after the incident, Brittney knows what she would do if it ever happens again.
“Always scream, try to scream and kick as hard as you can and go get someone you can trust,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.