High school student saved classmate from being kidnapped by man she met online, police say

ByJohn Clark WTVD logo
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Student stops attempted kidnapping at Kentucky school
High school student Cody Hardin, 18, doesn't think he did anything special.

HEBRON, KY -- High school student Cody Hardin, 18, doesn't think he did anything special.

"I'd do it any other day for anyone else," he told WCPO-TV.

What Cody did, according to police in Hebron, Kentucky, was stop an attempted kidnapping at his school.

The 11th grader says he was walking back to Connor High School from the nearby vocational school when a classmate rushed by him with a young man not far behind her.

"He said, 'Let's talk about this,'" according to Cody. "'I'll give you all the money I got. Let's go to the hotel room and talk about this.'"

That man was 18-year-old Benjamin Margitza, who police say had flown in from Las Vegas that weekend with the intent of kidnapping a 16-year-old girl. They say Margitza and the girl had connected years earlier via a phone chat app, but that he had increasingly become obsessive about her -- even when she blocked him and changed her number.

Authorities say Margitza flew to Kentucky for a final attempt to force the girl into a sexual relationship.

That's where Cody Hardin stepped in.

He sensed something was wrong and tried to persuade Margitza to leave the girl alone. Cody then put himself in between the two when Margitza tried to follow the girl into the school.

"I kept her in front of me, arm's reach in front of me," Hardin says. "I made sure that door was closed. I was making sure he was not in the school before that door closed."

Inside, Hardin and the girl found the school principal and a resource officer, who arrested Margitza before he could leave. He's facing several charges.

"He did the right thing. I wouldn't expect any less of him. He's always there to help somebody," Cody's proud father said.