A 16-year-old Conner High School student is being hailed a hero after he stopped what the Boone County Sheriff’s Office said was an attempted kidnapping Monday, Aug. 19.
Cody Hardin stopped Benjamin Margitza, 18, from potentially kidnapping a classmate in the parking lot of Conner High School.
Boone County deputies said Margitza came in contact with the victim via a phone chat app four years ago. He started to increase communication with her in a sexual manner over the past year. He flew to Kentucky during the weekend for a final attempt to force the girl into a sexual relationship, but she was unaware of his intentions.
Authorities said Margitza reached the victim in the parking lot of Conner High School and grabbed her arm.
The victim screamed and started running away, but he kept following her.
Cody said he was with a friend when he noticed the girl behaving strange and something just didn’t seem right, so he intervened. He tried to persuade Margitza to leave the girl alone. Cody then stood between the two when Margitza tried to follow the girl into the school.
“I kept her in front of me, arm’s-reach in front of me,” and stayed that way until they were inside the building, he said. “I made sure that door was closed, I was making sure he was not in the school before that door closed.”
When he and the girl were inside, they found the principal and the school resource officer, who stopped and arrested Margitza before he could leave the scene.
Investigators later discovered Margitza was on campus the day before the incident.
Boone County Lt. Philip Ridgell said Margitza had no weapons on him or at his hotel room.
Cody’s proud father said. “He did the right thing. I wouldn’t expect any less of him. He’s always there to help somebody,”
Margitza was charged with attempted kidnapping and criminal trespassing. He is in the Boone County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.