“All I can say, just thankful," her mother Cynthia Trotter said.
Trotter is counting her blessings tonight her daughter is home. But the 13-year-old girl is still reliving what happened on her way home from school Wednesday.
“He could’ve killed her and took off," Trotter said.
Trotter said her daughter was walking home from Aspire Hanley, her school that’s about a mile from their Orange Mound home. She was on Carnes Avenue, steps away from their front door.
“A man approached her in a black van. He looked her down, told her, 'Hey baby girl.' She started walking faster,” Trotter said.
She didn’t realize the man had gotten out of his vehicle. He started chasing her, Trotter said.
"He grabbed her from behind and pulled her hair out,” she said.
That’s when her mom said her daughter’s instincts kicked in. She fought back using the only thing she had: a backpack full of books.
“She threw the backpack at him. He threw it back. When he threw it back, she got off the ground and started running," Trotter said. "She was hysterically crying and stuff. She told us what happened. I called police.”
“I was just hoping she was okay," neighbor Cornelius Reed said.
The incident happened right near a women’s resource center at the corner of Carnes and Semmes. Trotter hoped police would be able to get identifying information from surveillance video there.
“She said he was a black male in his early 30s, kind of thick, maybe 200 lbs.,” Trotter said of her daughter's suspect description. "She guessed 5’8, with a hoodie tied up, black jeans and red tennis shoes."
“It’s a bad neighborhood as far as kids walking the streets. I wont let my daughter walk the streets by herself," Reed said.
Trotter said her daughter walked to school because she doesn’t have a car. Now her uncle will drive her.
“Watch your surroundings because people out there are preying on kids. It’s sad. But they are," Trotter said.
Her daughter went to school Thursday while her family waited for word from police.
WREG has asked police if this incident is connected with a similar situation in South Memphis. Police have not yet responded.