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PCSO: Man tried to lure 10-year-old girl, but didn't know code word

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. (KSAZ) -- Officials with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office say an investigation into an attempted child luring incident is underway.

According to a statement released Thursday afternoon, a PCSO deputy responded to a home near Gantzel and Ocotillo Roads on Wednesday, for a report of an attempted luring. The incident reportedly took place at around 3:45 p.m. that day, when an 10-year-old girl was walking with a friend near a park in the neighborhood. A man who was driving a white SUV reportedly pulled up next to the two, and the man told the girl that her brothers were in a serious accident, and that she needed to go with him.

The girl, according to PCSO officials, asked the man for a code word, but the man did not know it, and drove off.

"We came up with a code word, and this one time, it saved my daughter's life," said Brenda James. On Wednesday she received a call with sounds of tears and screams on the other end of the line.

"She told me that a guy tried to take her," said James.

Children in the neighborhood say the SUV was circling the park several times a day, and that the man covered most of his face with his hand while talking to the girl, in order to conceal any identifying features.

The man is described by PCSO officials as a white man who is possibly in his 40s, with a short beard. Meanwhile, the SUV is described as possibly similar to a Ford Explorer.

The young girl, understandably, is shaken, but James said she is proud of her.

"I never thought it would be used, but I'm proud of her for remembering that and knowing to use that," said James.

Anyone with information should call PCSO at 520-866-5111.