The brazen kidnapping attempt was captured on surveillance video released by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
The victim, Alyssa Bonal, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that only one thing was on her mind during the terrifying encounter: "Will I die today? Will I get to live the rest of my life?"
Her mother, Amber Bonal, said in the interview that the attack occurred in broad daylight as her daughter was waiting for the school bus.
"The guy had her by her throat," she said. "He had a knife."
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Authorities say Alyssa's quick thinking helped police identify her attacker after she smeared blue slime on her would-be abductor's arm -- a tip she and her mom picked up from the popular TV series "Law & Order: SVU."
"We watch 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and one thing is, in those shows they always talk about if they would have left evidence," Amber Bonal said.
The man arrested and charged in the case, identified as 30-year-old Jared Stanga, appeared in court Wednesday and is scheduled to appear before a judge again next month. He had allegedly approached Alyssa once before, about three weeks ago.
Amber Bonal said that she had walked her daughter to school every day since the first encounter, only missing Tuesday for the first time, to tend to her infant child.
On Thursday morning, she still felt a wave of emotions.
"It's creating guilt, for not going out there," she told WEAR-TV, her voice cracking. "I mean, but I can't let that tear me up because I was going out there. And none of this -- this is not my fault, it's not her fault. It's just that man's fault."