Brittney Baxter visits her classmates for the first time since escaping the clutches of a would-be kidnapper.
HARALSON COUNTY, Ga. (WXIA) -- A 7-year-old's courageous escape from a would-be kidnapper was inspired by the abduction and murder of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera.
Second grader Brittney Baxter returned to Tallapoosa Primary school for the first time since her near abduction inside a Bremen Walmart. During a school assembly, she told her classmates how she escaped the clutches of her attacker.
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"I was screaming and kicking," she told the adoring crowd.
Classmates applauded and chanted her name as the Haralson County Sheriff gave Brittney a certificate of heroism and dubbed her an honorary deputy.
"Punch, kick, scream, then go tell somebody," said Brittney. "That's important."
The man accused of trying to abduct Brittney waived his first court appearance. Sheriff Eddie Mixon said Thomas Andrew Woods was being held in isolation at the Haralson County jail.
Woods was on probation after serving prison time for voluntary manslaughter.
Just last month, the councilor at Tallapoosa Primary talked to Brittney and her classmates about what to do if approached by a stranger. Even before that, the 7-year-old's family was talking to her about avoiding abduction.
Those talks intensified when 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera was kidnapped and murdered a few counties away in Canton.
"I saw that on TV and just to see stuff like that, it breaks your heart," said Randall Baxter, Brittney's father.
Brittney said without those lessons, she wouldn't have known what to do.
When asked about the man who attacked her, Brittney was quite blunt.
"I think he's the devil," said Brittney.
When asked what she wanted to happen to him, she replied that she hoped he goes to prison "forever."
Brittney will attend Friday night's Daddy Daughter Dance at her school, where she's sure to be the center of attention.