BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - Surveillance video from Conner High School shows a man accused of attempting to kidnap a female student on the school’s campus the day before the incident took place, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.
Lt. Philip Ridgell confirms the video above shows Benjamin Margitza visiting the school grounds on Sunday, one day before authorities say the attempted kidnapping took place.
According to the sheriff’s office, a female student was approached by Margitza who she met through an online dating app about four years ago.
Investigators say Margitza, 18, flew to Northern Kentucky from Las Vegas on Saturday night with the intention of making contact with the victim.
Deputies say there was minimal contact between the two, but within the past year Margitza reached out to the victim and began making explicit, sexual statements while also obsessing over the victim by saying how he wanted to marry her.
Authorities say Margitza approached the victim in the parking lot of Conner High School and grabbed her arm.
The victim screamed and began to ran away, but he continued to follow her.
A male student heard what was going on and intervened.
School resource Officer Det. Ken Burcham, who the female student came to after the alleged attempted kidnapping, said without the program in place at the school, things “could’ve gone horribly wrong.”
“[The SRO program] may have saved a life yesterday,” Burcham said. "Today could’ve been a totally different story.”
Det. Burcham also commended the young man who helped the victim, saying he pushed the suspect away, kept him out of the school and his quick thinking was also part of the program they have at the schools to keep kids safe.
Conner High School released a statement saying the student that intervened will be rewarded.
“Conner High School would like to publicly recognize Joseph ‘Cody’ Hardin for his quick thinking and action in keeping his fellow students safe in the incident on 8/19/19. When it seems so many pull out a cell phone and record a ‘wrong’ going on in the world, Cody took the correct action and performed a ‘right’. He immediately helped avert a threat, and got himself and others to safety. Cody will receive rewards through our PBIS System for helping his fellow students," the school said.
Margitza is being held at the Boone County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.