Kentucky girl praised for keeping family safe during home invasion

NELSON COUNTY, Ky. — Laken Blanford, of Nelson County, tried calling her father when she saw someone she did not recognize in the home, WLKY reported.

“He was just walking normally like nothing was going on, like he owned the house, like he had every right to be there,” the girl told the television station.

At first, the girl was unable to reach her father on a cellphone.

“I am embarrassed to say that I ignored the first call, then the second, but when she called the third time I knew I needed to answer,” Lance Blanford wrote in a Facebook post. “It was a video call. Her face popped up and I could tell she was scared. She was hiding in her closet.”

The girl was in the closet with her 6-year-old brother and maternal grandmother, Lance Blanford wrote in his post.

Laken Blanford asked her father if he was expecting someone to work at the house, and Lance Blanford said he was not.

“But, being a busy person, I was second-guessing myself thinking that maybe a while back I had hired someone to do some odds and ends,” Lance Blanford wrote. “However, it all changed when she began crying. I could tell she was scared to death. She proceeded to tell me that the guy was yelling and kicking at our dog.”

While speaking with her father, Laken Blanford sneaked downstairs and put her cellphone through the banister so her father could get a look at the man inside the home, WLKY reported.

“Oddly, he was helping himself to a Busch Lite in my refrigerator,” Lance Blanford wrote on Facebook.

Realizing he did not know the man, Lance Blanford hurried home.

“As a parent, it’s an indescribable feeling of helplessness, fear, and all that when you get disconnected and you know there’s an intruder in your house,” Lance Blanford told the television station.

Meanwhile, Laken Blanford, her brother, grandmother, and dog had left the home, The Kentucky Standard reported.

“I was like, ‘There’s somebody in the house. We gotta go hide,’” Laken Blanford told WLKY. “I had my dog and we ran over to the neighbor’s house.”

After arriving at his home, Lance Blanford, who was armed with a gun, confronted Stanley E. Ritter, 67, who was drinking beer in the family basement.

“He didn’t see me,” Lance Blanford wrote on Facebook. “I racked the shotgun as I made my way around the corner and told him (with some expletives) to not make any quick moves but to get the hell out of my house.”

Ritter then allegedly charged the homeowner and Lance Blanford hit him with the barrel of his weapon, knocking him unconscious, the newspaper reported.

Help, including Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiro, arrived at the home, WLKY reported.

Ritter was arrested and charged with burglary, the television station reported.

The sheriff gave Laken Blanford a sheriff’s office challenger coin.

“I was very impressed with her age, her actions and I thought it was very well deserving she got one of these,” Pineiro told the television station.

Lance Blanford apologized for his long social media post but said he had a reason.

“I share this not to be dramatic, but just to bring attention to how proud I am of my daughter and of our community’s finest officers,” he said.





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