A young girl from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., used her knowledge from watching “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” to fight off an attacker and help police catch the criminal. As a result, she got a surprise visit from “SVU” actress Mariska Hargitay.
Hargitay surprised the young fan with a virtual meet-and-greet, praising her for her resourcefulness.
On Tuesday morning, Alyssa Bonal, 11, was waiting for her school bus when a knife-wielding man jumped out of a white SUV and ran at her. In disturbing footage captured on security cameras, Bonal attempted to run, but the man caught her and tried to drag her towards his vehicle. Luckily, she got away from him and left the scene.
Hours later, Jared Paul Stanga was caught by police. He’s currently being held on a bond of more than $1.5 million. Yet if it wasn’t for Bonal, they may have never been able to find him.
“The victim, at the time of the abduction, was playing with blue slime. … The suspect, when we caught him, had blue slime all over his own arms,” Sheriff Chip Simmons said during a press conference.
Mariska Hargitay Praises Young Girl Who Fought off Attacker
Yet, after years of binge-watching “Law & Order SVU” for years, Bonal’s instincts kicked in at just the right time.
“I was able to get the slime onto his upper arm, and a little bit on his lower arm,” she said during her appearance on “Today.” She also said that because of what she learned from the show, she “knew that might be better evidence if the cops do find him.”
During her appearance on the “Today” show, she also got to virtually meet Hargitay. Hargitay has played Detective Olivia Benson on the show for the last 22 seasons.
“I’m so incredibly honored to meet you,” the actress told Alyssa.”I just want to tell you how blown away me and all of my squad are that you had the forethought and the wherewithal to do what you did.” She later gave Alyssa an autographed script from the show with the message, “You are my hero.”
“You’re amazing, sweetheart. You’re amazing. And strong and brave,” Hargitay continued. “And what’s most important to everyone is that you’re okay. That is the most beautiful gift that we all have.”
Alyssa told Mariska Hargitay that she “never thought” she would ever get to meet her. “It’s amazing to meet you,” she said. “I never thought in my whole entire life that I was going to be able to even meet you.”