A 10-year-old in Atlanta escaped a kidnapper in the most improbable way. Now, a number of organizations in the area are teaming up to offer a $10,000 reward in the investigation.
On the night of March 31, Willie Myrick was outside taking care of his pet Chihuahua. The boy spotted a few dollars near a tree. When he walked over to the money, a man grabbed Willie and forced him into a four-door Honda Civic.
"He was cursing at me, telling me to shut up, and didn't want to hear a word from me," Willie recalled to WSB-TV in Atlanta. "He said if I told anyone he would hurt me, like, in a bad way."
The man drove around for three hours before leaving Willie on the side of a road in East Point, Ga. According to the fourth grader, the reason the man released him is because Willie irritated him with gospel music. Willie sang the track, "Every Praise" by Hezekiah Walker repeatedly until he was set free.
Stranded miles from his home, Willie went door-to-door seeking help. After one person turned him away, an elderly man across the street called the police and contacted Willie's guardian.
Willie escaped the situation physically unscathed. He was examined at a hospital before returning home.
Community leaders in Atlanta are now stepping up to help find Willie's kidnapper. According to WSB, a group of churches, civic organizations, and businesses are offering the $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the kidnapper.
"Our concern is not just the city of Atlanta boundaries," said Michael Langford, speaking for the coalition behind the reward. "It's the society in general. It's metro Atlanta. We've seen a number of attacks."
But as authorities continue their investigation, Willie's family is offering their own praise that his love of gospel music might have saved his life.