'Law & Order: SVU': Mariska Hargitay Praises Young Fan Who Used Show Tip to Fight Off Attacker

Mariska Hargitay praised a young Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fan who used what she learned [...]

Mariska Hargitay praised a young Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fan who used what she learned from the long-running NBC drama in a real-life scary situation. Alyssa, an 11-year-old who lives in Florida, told the Today Show Thursday that a tip she learned from the show played an important role in helping police catch the suspect. Hargitay, who has played Capt. Olivia Benson for 22 seasons, said she was "honored to be a part" of Alyssa's "incredible story."

At around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, a white vehicle pulled up to where Alyssa was waiting for her school bus, according to surveillance footage police released. A man jumped out of the truck and charged towards Alyssa, who was only identified by her first name on Today. "The man got out of his vehicle holding a knife, came towards me and I tried to run, but he caught me," Alyssa recalled.

The man could be seen trying to drag Alyssa back to the vehicle, but she fought back. The two fell to the ground, then the man got back in his car and drove away. During the fight, Alyssa realized that the blue paint and homemade slime she took with her to the bus stop could come in handy. She made sure she got some of the slime on the man's arm, which helped police identify the suspect. He was found hours later.

Alyssa credited SVU with the idea to leave an important clue on the suspect to help police. "I knew that that might be better evidence if the cops do find him," Alyssa told Today. On Wednesday, Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons told reporters the suspect was found with "blue slime all over his arms." The suspect, 30-year-old Jared Paul Stanga, was charged with the attempted kidnapping of a child under 13 and aggravated assault and battery. He is being held on a $1.5 million bond.

Hargitay later shared Alyssa's story on Instagram. "Alyssa, first and most important, I am so relieved and grateful to know that you are safe. And I am so honored to be part of your incredible story. You are one BRAVE, Strong and Smart young woman," she wrote. "I think the SVU squad might have to add slime to their crimefighting gear! Take good care of yourself and each other. With all my love, your number one fan, Mariska."

On Wednesday, Hargitay revealed that she suffered a broken knee, a torn ligament, and a hairline fracture in her ankle. She shared a photo of herself wearing knee and ankle braces outside a hospital. Thankfully, she will not need surgery. "Just so you know, this... did not happen at work," she added. SVU airs on NBC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET, with the new Christopher Meloni-starring spin-off Law & Order: Organized Crime following at 10 p.m. ET. Both shows are available to stream on Hulu and Peacock.

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