A Northern Michigan teen who saved his 8-year-old sister from an attempted kidnapping is speaking out about the terrifying experience.
The kidnapping attempt happened last Wednesday at a home outside of the city in Alpena Township.
At just 13 years old and armed with only a slingshot, a marble and a rock, this teen was able to stop a stranger who had walked into his backyard and was trying to take his little sister by force.
“If I wasn’t out there and I didn’t hear her scream, then she was gone. Not here. I’ll probably not forgive myself for a thousand years until my death,” said Owen.
Owen said a week later he still can’t believe what happened. He said it’s scary to think about.
“She’s says, ‘I’m going to go mushroom hunting.’ I say, ‘Okay, be careful’, because I just don’t care because she’s out there and I’m not going to care because nothing bad happens. And then, boom, something happens,” said Owen.
Owen said it was just a normal weekday afternoon. He had just gotten home from school and had settled in to play some video games when he heard his sister scream.
“I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s probably nothing.’ Because I thought, ‘Oh, it’s just her messing around’ or friends always come around and hang out with her,” said Owen.
But then he said he heard it again.
“So I looked out the window and saw her being abducted by a person and I’m like freaking out,” said Owen.
Owen panicked and reached for what he could.
“I’m like, sort of cursing a lot because I didn’t know what to do. So I grab my slingshot and open the window and I grab two things a marble and a gravel rock or something,” said Owen.
Lieutenant Derrick Carroll said Owen hit the 17-year-old would-be kidnapper in the head and in the chest, allowing his sister to get away.
“It was disbelief that a young man could successfully shoot a person twice with a slingshot and their sister was able to get away,” said Carroll.
Owen said he was also surprised he was such a good shot. He said it’s not like the usual targets he goes after.
“I was just lucky. He’s just a big target because he’s not like one Pepsi can,” said Owen.
State police said the suspect then ran away. The 17-year-old was found 10 minutes later, hiding in the bathroom of a nearby gas station with slingshot wounds.
Owen said he then called his mom, Margaret Burns, who then called police. Margaret said it was a terrifying call no mother ever wants to get.
“I was in a state of panic, and I don’t know, all I heard was the word kidnapped, but I was on my way,” said Margaret.
A week later and the family said they are doing better, having had more time to process it. Margaret said she’s so relieved and grateful Owen was around.
“I was just happy we were able to celebrate our daughter’s eighth birthday that following Saturday, rather than a funeral,” said Margaret.
The family said they are trying to move forward. Owen said he was glad he was able to defend his sister. And while it’s definitely something he’ll always remember, Margaret said for his little sister that she’s just trying her best to put it behind her.
“She’s doing okay. Seems like she’s bouncing back. I don’t think she fully processed the whole thing and what’s happened. She just wants to forget,” said Margaret.
Owen’s dad, Andrew Burns, said the ordeal has made them a little more cautious about what could happen. They’ve lived here most of their lives and this type of crime was not on their radar before now.
“Just ordinary kids just doing their normal things and we’ve just got to keep an eye on your kids at all times because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Andrew.
That 17-year-old now faces several charges including attempted kidnapping.
He was arraigned last week and was back in court early Wednesday for a probable cause hearing.