Attempted abduction of 17-year-old in Elkhart
ELKHART, Ind. - A 17-year-old girl was almost abducted on her way home from a friend’s house in Elkhart Thursday. Now police are trying to find the man responsible.
Police say at 3:30 p.m. on the corner of Hudson and Fremont Streets, a 17-year-old girl was on her way home from a friend’s house when an orange van pulled up behind her and the stranger at the wheel asked her to get in.
When she refused, the man drove off, without trying to force her into the vehicle.
The neighborhood is filled with kids. In fact, the intersection of Fremont and Hudson is also a school bus stop.
“I do worry,” Wanda Miles, who lives nearby, said.
Miles has four grandkids and just wants them to be safe. The incident has put other neighbors in the area also on high alert.
“If some little kid came up to me knocking on the door for help, I would let him in and help him,” Miles said. “And I am hoping that other people would do the same thing if something happened to my grandkids or any other kids that’s around here.”
Yosely Garcia lives in the neighborhood and also attends school nearby, she said she feels safe just because her parents make sure of it.
“They won’t leave us like there’s a store in the corner that we can’t leave, we can’t go without an adult,” Garcia said.
Even walking from the bus stop.
“When I was in middle school, my dad would walk us to the bus stop, see us get on and he’ll leave,” Garcia said.
Miles said it’s important to teach kids what to do in situations with strangers.
“They’re all friendly, they all like to talk to people. I said ‘you just can’t do that when there is somebody in a car or truck because you don’t know them or you don’t know what their intentions are,’” Miles said if someone comes up to them, “Just start screaming, scream and yell for help.”
Lieutenant Travis Snider with the Elkhart Police Department said attempted abductions do happen from time to time, but kids should be taught what to do in these situations.
“If you don’t know them, don’t recognize the driver just not interested, walk away. There’s no, in those particular scenarios, there’s no fault in being rude,” Snider said.
Police are still investigating, and the man has yet to be found or questioned.
The suspect is described as a white male, 50 to 55 years of age with grey short hair and white facial hair.
Lt. Snider said normally suspects like this live in the general area and he said anyone with any information should call their tip line at (574) 389-4777.