Student, 16, hailed a hero for thwarting attempted kidnapping at high school

A high school student in Kentucky is being hailed a hero after shielding a classmate from an attempted abduction, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

“He wanted to do something, that wasn’t going to be happening,” Connor High School student Cody Hardin told local news station FOX19.

According to a Facebook post from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, on Monday the victim, a 16-year-old high school junior, went to grab her lunch from her car when she was approached by 18-year-old Benjamin Margitza in the parking lot. Police say Margitza had been harassing the victim online and had traveled from Las Vegas to meet her at school.

Margitza then grabbed the victim by the arm, and when she pulled away, he followed her, only stopping when a male student intervened. Once inside the school, the victim reported the incident.

Lt. Philip Ridgell tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Margitza’s intent was to coerce the girl to have sex in his hotel room. “He said he’s got a whole bunch of rose petals in his bag, and he professes he has money for her — he was very persistent,” he says.

Cody Hardin, a junior and wrestler at Connor High School, saw the victim talking to Margitza and knew that “something didn’t feel right.”

“He said, ‘Let’s talk about this. I’ll give you all the money I got. Let’s go to the hotel room and talk about this. Let’s talk. Let’s talk,’” Cody recalls to local news station WCPO.

When it was clear that Margitza intended to follow the girl into the school, Cody stopped him.

“He tried to take a step in the door, I grabbed him by the neck and didn’t let him step in,” Cody told WCPO. After his classmate successfully got inside, Cody continued to block the entrance of the school. “I made sure that door was closed, I was making sure he was not in the school before that door closed.”

The victim immediately sought out the principal and the school resource officer. Ridgell tells Yahoo Lifestyle that her reaction was “pure terror, trauma and fear.”

“She was trembling crying hysterically. Our officer knew that something traumatic had occurred,” he adds. Ridgell says he found Margitza sitting inside an Uber car on the other side of campus.

“If Margitza got inside of the school, who knows how this would have played out,” says Lt. Ridgell. Although Cody told WPCO that he was shaking after the altercation, that, “[he’d] do it any other day for anyone else.”

Principal Andrew Wyckoff tells Yahoo Lifestye, “Conner High School would like to publicly recognize Joseph ‘Cody’ Hardin for his quick thinking and action in keeping his fellow students safe...when it seems so many are quick to pull out a cell phone and record a ‘wrong’ going on in the world, Cody took the correct action and performed a ‘right’...” Wyckoff added that Cody will receive an award for his efforts.

However, Cody’s father Jody Hardin, had a different reaction.

“What are you thinking?” Jody told WPCO. “That was my first thought. What are you thinking? The kid could’ve had a gun, a knife, a thousand things.”

Margitza is being held at the Boone County Detention Center on a $50,000 cash bond. He has been charged with attempted kidnapping of a minor and criminal trespassing.

Given fatal mass shootings at schools across the country, Lt. Ridgell tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Cody’s instinct to help his fellow classmate was even more heroic.“It’s great to know that a student would take a risk and put himself at risk for the safety of others.”

Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach Cody for comment.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

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• Teen poses with ‘angel’ military father in high school portraits

• High school senior says she was excluded from yearbook because of her outfit: ‘I’m a lesbian who wanted to wear a tux’

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