YORK COUNTY, Va. - Kristen Yakalavich says her 7-year-old daughter loves to play with her Barbie dolls and also loves being mommy’s helper. She gets the mail for her mom almost every day.
“We always have a routine we do. She has to stand in the grass away from the road beside the mailbox until absolutely no cars are coming," said Yakalavich.
Kristen said around 6 p.m. Tuesday at their home on Showalter Road, her daughter followed through with mommy’s rules and did just that. But something went terribly wrong.
She came back hysterical - running inside, screaming while holding her head.
“I was like, 'What is wrong?' She said, 'Some man just grabbed my head.' I was speechless at first. You can’t believe something like that because there’s no way that could happen to your child. That’s my front yard. We live in a good neighborhood. There’s just no way that could happen,” said Yakalavich.
Kristen said her daughter stood in between the trash cans and mailbox when a man driving by came up so closely on the opposite side of the road, he reached out and grabbed her hair. Kristen said her daughter yanked on to the mailbox so hard and screamed the man drove away.
“She said, 'Mommy, I was holding it so tight because I was afraid the man was going to take me.' She says, 'I saw my hair in his hand and I immediately screamed as loud as I could.' She said the birds flew,” said Yakalavich.
Now, shaken with two little cuts on her ankle from running away so quickly, Kristen says she’s thankful and proud of her daughter for being so brave in that moment. She says they now have a new house rule.
“She is not allowed to get mail anymore. It’s difficult because you trust your child so much and you put so much faith and trust in your child. But, in the end, it’s not them you can’t trust - it’s the people out in this world," said Yakalavich.
The York Poquoson Sheriff’s Office says this appears to be an isolated situation. They will continue to investigate and increase patrols in the area.