Local Girl Gets National Courage Award

By: Chiara Lotierzo Email
By: Chiara Lotierzo Email

A ten-year-old Orchard Mesa girl who was kidnapped but fought off her captor is headed to Washington D.C. to get national recognition for her courage.

Tabytha Carroll, 10, says she's always known to stay away from strangers, but by the time her kidnapper Michael Byerrum had thrown her into his truck one summer night last year, it was too late.

Byerrum drove her out, alone, into the desert, and just before things could take a turn for the worst, Tabytha found her courage, and bit Byerrum on the nose and escaped.

She was later found alone, scooped up by police, and even able to identify her captor in a lineup.

After the story broke, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the Grand Junction Police Department to get more information on her case.

The Center was so impressed, that it chose Tabytha to receive their national ‘Courage Award’ alongside two other recipients, one of whom is Elizabeth Smart.

Tabytha, along with her mother and grandmother, will attend a black tie gala where John Walsh of ‘America’s Most Wanted’ will present Tabytha with her award.

The Grand Junction Police Department says Tabytha is a perfect example of what you should teach your kids; fight back and refuse to be a victim.

Tabytha also got to ride to the airport this morning in a Grand Junction police patrol car.

Her escort was the same officer who picked her up the night she escaped from her kidnapper.

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