HEBRON, Ky. (FOX19) - A 16-year-old Conner High School student is being hailed a hero by his classmates and local authorities after he stopped what the Boone County Sheriff’s Office says was an attempted kidnapping Monday.
Deputies say Joseph “Cody” Hardin stopped Benjamin Margitza, 18, from potentially kidnapping a classmate in the parking lot of Conner High School. He also kept the man from entering the building.
“He wanted to do something, that wasn’t going to be happening,” Hardin said.
According to the sheriff’s office, a female student was approached by Margitza, whom she met through an online dating app about four years ago. Investigators say Margitza flew to Northern Kentucky from Las Vegans on Saturday night with the intention of making contact with the victim.
Detectives say Margitza told them his goal was to convince a Conner High School girl he’d been following on Instagram for a few years to have sex with him once he got her back to his hotel room three miles away from campus.
Hardin said he and his friend had just gotten out of class when they saw the girl behaving oddly.
“She passed us and said, don’t talk to me,” said Cody, who thought the girl was talking to them. “Then the guy behind her was like, you guys with her? We’re like, ‘No.’”
Hardin said something just didn’t seem right, so he intervened. He brought over the principal and the school resource officer, who found Margitza in an Uber trying to get away.
Investigators later learned Margitza was on campus the day before the alleged incident occurred.
Boone County Lt. Philip Ridgell told FOX19 Margitza had no weapons on him or at his hotel room.
Hardin said in hindsight, he wished he’d just tackled Margitza until the school resource officer got there. But his father Jody said he’s glad Cody did the right thing, not knowing if Margitza was armed with weapons.
"And that’s the best part of it, nobody got hurt,” Jody Hardin said.
Margitza faces criminal trespassing and attempted kidnapping charges. He is held at the Boone County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.