For a brief period of time, 14-year-old James Persyn III was the man of the house. His father, James Persyn Jr., left their house momentarily to go pick up his fiancée. It was a quiet Wednesday evening for James and his two sisters, but in the blink of an eye, that changed drastically.

The siblings heard banging on their front door, so James went over to investigate. On the front porch he found a woman behaving frantically, crying out, asking the children to let her in, ABC News reports. James let the woman in, who told him that she'd been kidnapped and a man was after her.

In heroic fashion, James ushered the woman along with his siblings to the bathroom — it didn't have windows — and had them hide in the bathtub. He went to find the hunting knife he'd been gifted for Christmas.


James got his father on the phone; his sister dialed 911. Unbeknownst to the children, the suspect, later identified as Eric Ramsey, had set fire to the property before fleeing. When Persyn Jr. arrived on the scene, he acted quickly to put the fire out.

Police arrived shortly thereafter, but the Persyn family struggled to sleep that night knowing that Ramsey was still on the loose. It wasn't long before they found out he'd been shot dead by police, according to USA Today.


James has been heralded as a hero ever since the 2013 story broke — and rightfully so. The 14-year-old was incredibly courageous and without him, the victim might not be alive today.

See news coverage of the story below as well as an interview with James.