HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KARK) — After a Hot Springs teen was kidnapped earlier this week, parents across the state are having tough conversations with their kids about safety.
Police said that the 17-year-old was found Tuesday at about 3:22 p.m. in the 4700 block of Central Avenue with minor injuries and then transported to a local hospital for medical assistance.
According to the Hot Springs Police Department, Dayla Ferrer, 19, of Memphis, Tennessee, and Samuel Bolling Jr., 38, of Nashville, Tennessee, were booked into the Garland County Detention Center Wednesday morning.
Michelle Gates Roberts lives in Hot Springs, and she said an Amber Alert went off on all her digital devices. The same happened with Jack Roberts, 12, her son.
“He came home [and said,] ‘Hey, did you hear about it?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I heard about it,'” Roberts said. “We went through a reminder conversation.”
Michelle Gates Roberts said she talked to her son about how to recognize potentially dangerous situations and who to ask for help.
“If the children know you’re able to have these hard conversations, they will come talk to you about anything,” Michelle Gates Roberts said.
Resources exist that help parents have these discussions. The Morgan Nick Foundation is based in Arkansas, and it supplies educational materials to help in a number of areas.
The foundation is named for Colleen Nick’s daughter, who disappeared from Alma in 1995. Since then, Colleen Nick has become an advocate for missing children and their families.
“There are lots and lots of safety tips to guide parents in these conversations,” Colleen Nick said.
Colleen Nick said normalizing the discussion can help make it an easier topic to bring up.
“I think the best thing a parent can do is not try to do it all in one conversation,” Colleen Nick said. “Talk to your kids about it every day.”
The Amber Alert system was named for Morgan Nick up until recently, and Colleen Nick said that system along with social media make it much easier to get the word out when a child is abducted.
“There’s always room for improvement, but the fact of the matter is because this resource exists, this [Hot Springs teen] is safe today,” Colleen Nick said.
Michelle Gates Roberts said all she can do is try to equip Jack Roberts with the tools he needs in case he encounters a dangerous situation.
“Most people are good,” Michelle Gates Roberts said. “There are a few people who aren’t.”