11-Year-old's quick thinking saves her from kidnapping

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- On the day police began investigating the disappearance of 78-year-old Helen Lee in Goodyear, an 11-year-old girl was sitting in her family’s car at an elementary school in Chandler waiting to pick up her brother.

In Goodyear, police quickly decided that there was foul play and the person of interest was Lee’s 40-year-old grandson, Jason Howell. 

In Chandler, the 11-year-old girl looked up, and out of the corner of her eye saw Howell open the car, look at her, not say a word, close the door, and start the SUV.

The girl knew she needed to do something, but what she didn’t know was that police say Howell had just dumped his missing grandmother’s mini-van just a few blocks from Kyrene Del Cielo Elementary and was looking for a vehicle to take.

Her story is amazing. She picked up a text book and thought about smacking him with it, and then made the split second decision to jump from the car.

She and her mom called 911, and just minutes later Howell was arrested by Chandler PD and taken into custody.