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Teen Uses Secret Signal To Call For Help, Thwarts Potential Child Predator

A two-photo collage. The first shows a silhouette of a young man. Behind him is a blue curtain with some light barely coming through. The second image shows a close up of someone holding a cell phone in the dark.

Parents are willing to go to great lengths in order to keep their children safe. Unfortunately, they can’t always be around. That’s why so many look for creative ways to keep their kids out of danger, no matter how far away they are. For this Utah teen, that includes a secret signal for when he’s in danger but can’t communicate directly with others. Just this week, it seems to have saved his life.

The 14-year-old’s harrowing story starts online. Here, he met 36-year-old Austin David Arnold. The two had been talking for a while. But things escalated when Austin, who lives in California, planned to travel all the way to Utah so they could meet in person. Austin, along with three other adult men, ended up at a hotel with the teen.

From a distance, an exterior view at night of a Holiday In Express & Suites in Utah.

Meanwhile, the teen’s parents had no idea what was going on. All they knew is that their son was missing. Then, as soon as they called his phone, they knew without a doubt that something was wrong — he had changed his voicemail.

Teen’s Secret Signal to Family Saves His Life

“This was something that the family had recently discussed as a possible safety tip in case something were to go wrong,” Stephanie Dinsmore with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office explains.

Close up of someone holding a cell phone in the dark.

Hours later, the teen was able to share his phone’s location with a family member, allowing investigators to locate him and the four men swiftly. Now, Austin is in jail and an investigation is ongoing. Plus, the teen is now safe at home — in large part thanks to the planning him and his parent did.

The InspireMore team wishes the teen and his family well as they heal from this traumatic event.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

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