Exclusive: Kidnapping all too familiar for 2002 abduction survivor

Erica Pratt

January 16, 2013 4:29:01 AM PST
Monday's abduction of a 5-year-old girl conjured up frightening memories for Erica Pratt.

"I kept thinking about what happened to me and I wanted her to be safe, how I was," Pratt said.

Pratt was kidnapped by James Burns and Edward Johnson when she was just 6-years-old, setting off a massive search.

It was the summer of 2002. Erica was walking home from school with a friend when she was grabbed just a few steps from her home, placed in a car, and driven off.

Burns and Johnson held her for ransom in a vacant North Philadelphia home. But Pratt was able to chew through the duct tape on her mouth and hands and escape.

"It's hard growing up. When most people talk about it, you don't want to think about it. But it happened already so you have to deal with it," Pratt said.

Pratt says the coming years will be difficult for the 5-year-old. Counseling helped her, but it's still had an impact on her life.

"[It's] real scary at night, kind of nervous walking the streets at night," Pratt said.

But while she'll never forget, she also says her ordeal has made her stronger.

She is going to college at Florida A&M in the fall and wants to be a veterinarian.

"I think she'll be able to deal with it, but she'll never be able to forget it and she'll be nervous when people bring it up. So she's just scared and so traumatized by what happened," Pratt said.