A West Jordan elementary school teacher charged with kidnapping a student says she was just trying to help the distraught 5-year-old girl get home, according to FOX 13.

Amy Martz, a sixth grade teacher at Fox Hollow Elementary and former principal, said that while she did walk with the girl off school property, she didn’t kidnap her.

“I’ve dedicated my life to helping children,” Martz told FOX 13. “I’m a rule follower. I stay safely on the side of policy and law.”

She’s been charged with a first-degree felony count of kidnapping, which, if convicted, comes with a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Martz has also been placed on administrative leave, FOX 13 reported.

On Sept. 4, Martz said she took the 5-year-old, who is autistic and mostly nonverbal, to find her mother after seeing the girl walk out of the school crying uncontrollably, according to FOX 13.

They walked two laps in a neighborhood by a nearby dog park, less than a mile from the school, according to charging documents, and were gone about 40 minutes.

Martz told FOX 13 that the girl indicated she didn’t ride a bus and that Martz thought the girl would lead them to her mother. Martz later realized the girl didn’t know where she was going, and that’s when she called administration.

When Martz called, she said she “was in a bit of a pickle," court documents say. Another teacher driving by saw the pair walking, picked them up and returned them to the school.

For more, visit FOX 13.

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Editor’s note: FOX 13 and The Salt Lake Tribune are content-sharing partners.