SHERRARD, Illinois-- "There's someone out there that targeted my child," says Nicole.
We decided not to use Nicole's last name or any part of her son's name to keep her son's identity safe.
Nicole's mind is filled with questions but also relief.
"This could have went really wrong and it didn't," says Nicole.
The nightmare unfolded on Wednesday with a phone call from the principal at Sherrard Elementary School after classes were out for the day, saying her son was still there.
Nicole says it's a routine. Her son knows every day after school to get on the bus and go to daycare. So when she got a call saying her son was still at school, that was the first red flag.
Nicole says the principal told her a man identifying himself as her son's father called to make different after-school arrangements.
"He said, okay, well grandpa's going to pick up today, and she said what's the last name. He gave the last name of my son and then she made sure it was the right teacher, then he hung up the phone," says Nicole.
But Nicole's son doesn't have a grandpa that lives in the state.
Nicole figured it was all a mix up at first.
"Until I heard the details of the call and that my son specifically was targeted, that's when it became more concerning," says Nicole.
The unidentified caller knew details like what class her son was in and his full, hyphenated name.
"That leads me to think somebody did research. I don't know where he got my son's name. I don't know how available that is," says Nicole.
Luckily, Nicole was the one to pick up her son that day, and he's safe. She shares her story to keep other kids safe.
"Make sure the school knows you as a parent and that you know what your school's protocol is. Talk to your kids about going with strangers. I know I definitely talked to mine last night over and over and over," says Nicole.
Nicole says her son's dad and her are on the same page. She says she knows he did not make that call.
On Thursday, the Mercer County Sheriff says there is extra patrol outside the school. And deputies are investigating who made the call.