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Eight-year-old Whitehall boy saves little sister from abduction try

| Monday, May 17, 2010

Nathan Kuhns will have an amazing story to share during his school's next show-and-tell session.

During a family vacation Friday, the 8-year-old Whitehall boy fought off a middle-aged man who was trying to kidnap his little sister on a sidewalk in Myrtle Beach, S.C., according to the Kuhns family and Myrtle Beach police.

Nathan charged the man — who had his 4-year-old sister, Josie, by the arm and was dragging her to a car — then kicked, clawed and bit him until he let her go and fled, police and the family said.

"He told me, 'Mom, I did everything I could,' " Erin Kuhns, 33, said Sunday night as she and her family drove through North Carolina on their way home. "He was in shock. His eyes were bulging out of his head. He just kept saying, 'I did the best I could. I got her away from him. I wouldn't let him take her.' "

The attacker was about 6 feet tall with a medium build, Myrtle Beach police said.

Nathan, a first-grader at McAnnulty Elementary School, stands 3 feet 10 and weighs less than 80 pounds.

"He had no idea what he had done," Erin Kuhns said. "All he knew was that someone was trying to take his baby sister, and he wasn't going to let it happen."

The Kuhnses were staying at the Dunes Village Resort on their first family vacation, she said.

On Friday, Kuhns took her three kids — Nathan, Josie and T.J., 6 — to lunch while her husband, John, 33, slept in their hotel room. John Kuhns had been up late the night before with Nathan, who had to be hospitalized briefly after a severe asthma attack, Erin Kuhns said.

As the family walked back to the hotel, T.J. "threw a tantrum" and sat down on the sidewalk after learning that he had missed a magic show, she said.

Josie then ran toward a beach access area "because she wanted to see if the ice cream truck was there," Erin Kuhns said.

She sent Nathan after his sister, who had rounded a corner and gone out of view, as she tried to calm T.J.

Seconds later, Erin Kuhns heard Nathan shrieking.

"It was a sound no mother should ever hear coming out of her child's mouth," she said.

She scooped T.J. off the ground and ran toward her other son.

"I got over there, and a dark-colored car was whizzing by," she said. "I turned and looked — Nathan and Josie were arm-in-arm on the ground. He was on top of her, hugging her. I went over and tried to pick up Nathan to see what had happened, and he wouldn't let go. He said, 'I'm not going to let him take her.' "

The kidnapping attempt occurred at 12:45 p.m. at a beach access area on 53rd Avenue, according to a Myrtle Beach police report.

The man grabbed Josie by her left arm and tried to pull her to a car when Nathan "tried to pull his sister away (and) then kicked the man and scratched him on the left arm, at which point the suspect let her go and got into his car and drove off," the police report states.

A hotel manager called police. While an investigator questioned witnesses, Nathan calmly informed the officer that he had the suspect's DNA under his fingernails, Erin Kuhns said.

"He said, 'I watch NCIS,' " she said. "The police officer started laughing."

The officer clipped some of Nathan's fingernails for evidence, the police report states.

Erin and John Kuhns said they need a vacation from their vacation. If police catch the man who tried to kidnap Josie, they will return to Myrtle Beach to testify against him.

Josie said her brother's actions were "awesome because he saved my life."

She added: "But sometimes he can be mean to me."

As for Nathan, he doesn't understand all the fuss.

"You know, I've told this story a lot, and I'm starting to get tired of it," he said.

Then he relented and shared his heroic tale yet again.

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