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Police still investigating possible abduction

Zoe Greszler • Updated Sep 1, 2018 at 3:36 PM

The mother of a 10-year-old girl said she feels police aren’t taking the matter of a suspected attempted abduction seriously.

Capt. Jim Fulton said Friday night the department still is investigating the incident.

Earlier, Chief Mike Conney said the incident was unfounded and everything checked out.

But Fulton said after talking to the girls’ mother a lot more facts have come out.

“We had some poor communication,” Fulton said. “Obviously something went on and we want to check everything out.

“We hope to have have more information early next week (when everybody gets back to school).”

A Main Street School student reported a possible attempted abduction while waiting to be picked up after school Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Facebook post, officers responded and identified the occupants of the vehicle, However, the young girl couldn’t identify them and after being interviewed, their involvement couldn’t be determined and they were released.

Fulton initially said the complaint came about two hours afterward. But after more investigation he learned the girls went right to the school and reported it.

That is where all of the miscomunication came from.

“Officers were confused as to what was being reported,” Fulton added. “(But) we take everything like that seriously.”

‘Way more to the story’

Leila Earl said there was more to her daughter’s story than what the police initially said happened — an incident that has left her daughter “traumatized.”

“We were driving to League Street to get my other son and (my daughter) said there was a man that tried to get her to get into his van,” the mother added.

Earl said her daughter alleged a man in the passenger seat of a black van sat in front of the school for eight to 10 minutes after the other students and teachers had left.

“She said the man had motioned for her to come over, but (she) knows better,” she said. “That’s one thing I’ve installed in their brains — never, never go over (to a stranger). She didn’t acknowledge the man. She said he was saying something, but she couldn’t understand what he was saying, but he kept motioning her to come over. She was looking for me to be there, so she had moved a little closer to the van and that’s when she said he said ‘come on get in.’”

The girl described a van being “between new and junky” with a little bit of rust on the bottom. She said the man in the passenger seat wore a red or orange shirt, had a beard, while the driver was a “bigger woman (who) had dark reddish-brown hair” wearing either brown or purple shirt.

Earl and her daughter went to the Main Street School principal’s office after picking up her other son. The mother said Principal Dan Bauman asked her daughter some questions and talked with teachers and another student.

“But that was that,” she said. “I thought the police would have been contacted, but he didn’t call. He said we don’t have surveillance on that corner by Executive Cleaners.”

Bauman said Friday he called the police, but declined to comment when he called, saying Superintendent George Fisk would need to be involved in further discussions. No further comments were available before press time.

‘Mom, that’s them’

About 20 minutes after getting home, Earl said she noticed a van matching her daughter’s description sitting across the street at Cashland.

“By this time the people were already inside the store and sure enough the man had on an orange shirt and the lady was big, and had like a mauve shirt on. (My daughter) was on it; the description was exactly what she said. She said ‘Mom, that’s them.’”

Sgt. James Montana responded. He asked Earl’s daughter for a description of who she saw. Montana then talked to the man and woman inside Cashland.

“The officer said, ‘The weird thing is they’re from Kentucky,’” Earl said. “They claim they were never up town. She said she just picked him up from work and they came to Cashland.’ I said OK and he said they live on the north end of town and I don’t needed to know where they live.”

Montana said “we spooked them off and they won’t be around anymore,’” Earl said. “And that was that.”

Unanswered questions

Earl said she has questions about how the situation was handled, such as Bauman reportedly “not contacting the police department” in a timely fashion and police not verifying the suspects’ identities.

“I feel like no one is listening. This is very serious and it’s scary,” the mother added. “Even if it wasn’t them, it was someone and they’re still out there.

“My daughter is scared. She knows from now (on) she doesn’t leave the school steps,” Earl said. “She doesn’t even want to play outside. It’s traumatizing to her. She knew it was a bad for her.”

Earl said she couldn’t help but wonder why the school didn’t send a One Call message to warn parents of this incident as a precautionary measure.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Staff writer Cary Ashby contributed to this story.

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