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California psychology student convinced abductor to free her: cops

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A psychology student at a California university put her schooling into practice when she talked a man who kidnapped her in a parking lot near campus into letting her go, police said on Tuesday.

The University of California Riverside student was forced into a vehicle, tied up, and assaulted on Sunday night, authorities said. But she was able to free her hands, remove a head cover and then convince her captor to set her free.

"Our assumption is that one, she's very knowledgeable in psychology and two, she's very brave and kept her wits about her and decided to talk to him, which basically led to her release," Riverside police Detective Rick Cobb said.

"She is a very brave girl who was in a very terrifying situation and she did not panic and used everything she had to get him to return her to the parking structure."

The student involved was not identified, and the attacker - described as a white male - is being sought by authorities.

Kris Lovekin, a university spokeswoman, said there had been two previous kidnapping attempts of women near campus in April, one of which involved a white male with dirty blond hair.

"It was behavior that was concerning, that they felt threatened by," Lovekin said, although she stressed that neither incident had been as serious as Sunday's abduction.

"It was more nebulous ... No one was taken into a car."

(Reporting by Dana Feldman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Andre Grenon)