James (left) and Acelin Persyn, who rescued a CMU student who had been sexually assauted.
MOUTN PLEASANT, Mich. (WZZM) -- The two Isabella county children who rescued a Central Michigan University student from the man who sexually assaulted her are being honored as heroes.
Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski gave "Lifesaving Awards" to James Persyn III, 14, and his sister Acelin, 11, Tuesday night in Mount Pleasant.
The Persyn children were with their two-year-old brother at their home on the night January 16, when the CMU student began pounding at their door. The student had been abducted from campus and taken to a farm, where she was raped. Her abductor put her in her own car, threatening to kill her, but she managed to escape and run to the Persyns' home for help.
The children let the woman in, locked the door, and hid in the bathroom. The suspect, Eric Ramsey, then demanded to be allowed inside. When he could not enter, he set the front wall of the home on fire and drove away.
The children called 911 and their father, who arrived to put out the fire himself. Police and fire crews soon arrived to help the woman.
"Children and young adults are told, 'Don't open the door to strangers,' but in this case there's no question in my mind had they not opened up that door, that victim would not be alive tonight," said Sheriff Mioduszewski at Tuesday's ceremony.
"I've only had one bad dream about it," said James Persyn. "I wasn't waking up shivering about it. When you look back at it, it's still pretty scary."
Ramsey was later chased through Northern Michigan, ramming state police cars before a sheriff's deputy shot and killed him.
The CMU student who was attacked did not attend Tuesday night's ceremony. The children said they would like to know how she is doing.