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The wrong Courtney: Man picks up incorrect girl from school

Most stories that involve kids getting into a car with a stranger don't end well, but in this case it appears the stranger driving the car ended up the more traumatized party.

As NBC News reports, Art Deaner had been tasked with picking up his friend's daughter from school.

Deaner was waiting for six-year-old Courtney Fetters when he spotted a girl who looked similar to his charge.

The Gloucester City, N.J., man called out to her and she approached his vehicle.

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"I told her I was looking for Courtney,'" said Deaner. "And the young girl said her name was Courtney."

Courtney got into the car and the two drove off toward home.

The problem, as it soon emerged, was that Deaner had mistakenly picked up nine-year-old Courtney Durr instead.

He tells the news network he managed to confuse the pair because Courtney Fetters had recently gotten a haircut and he hadn't seen her in a few weeks.

Courtney Durr had also been waiting for a family friend to pick her up and assumed Deaner was that friend.

"I got off the bus and he pulled up and he asked if there was a Courtney," the fourth grader told NBC. "I said, 'Yeah.' My crossing guard let me go and I went with him."

Then two things happened simultaneously: Deaner realized he had the wrong Courtney, and Courtney-squared's crossing guard called the police.

A question about a two-week vacation in Maine tipped Deaner off that there was something not quite right.

"He was like, 'You weren't with Aunt Mary in Maine?... No, I would never have been in Maine," said the nine-year-old girl, recalling their very moment of discovery.

By the time Deaner swung the car around to return to erroneous Courtney to her bus stop, police were already on his tail.

The guard had recorded Deaner's licence plate and vehicle make after watching Courtney Durr get in an unfamiliar car and the girl's mother had received a panicked phone call from the friend who was actually supposed to collect her from school.

It only took a few questions for police to conclude that this was a case of mistaken identity rather than a failed abduction attempt. Both girls were returned to their correct set of parents that afternoon.

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Courtney the Elder's mother also appeared to take the situation remarkably well.

"I forgive them!" said Pam Durr, who may or may not start demanding photo identification before allowing her daughter to enter someone else's car.

"They didn't know any better because they haven't seen her in a while."

And poor Deaner, who probably didn't anticipate the punishment set out for this particular good deed, may want to retire from the carpooling business.

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