Misunderstanding Lead To Possible Abduction Scare

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Thanks to the coverage from Social Media and Traditional Media the female subject in yesterday’s incident involving the 8 year old being approached to get into the vehicle has been identified. Astoria Police received a call from the daughter of an 85 year old woman who lives only four blocks away. The woman has an injury to her vocal chords, which explains the 8-year-old not being able to understand her. She indicates that she saw the 8-year-old girl and that she thought she looked lost and confused. She was trying to offer a ride to where the 8-year-old was going.

Both mother and daughter were concerned that the mother’s actions would be misinterpreted. They both assured Astoria Police that she was only trying to be helpful to what she perceived as a young girl who needed help.

“This incident is a good reminder,” said Deputy Chief Johnston “that parents do need to be vigilant. The 8-year-old girl and her mother both reacted appropriately. While this was a misunderstanding, it was a good test for systems for the family, the school, and the police department.”

Original Incident Report

On 05/01/2014 at about 4:30 p.m. Astoria Police Department was contacted by a parent reporting that at approximately 2:30 p.m. her daughter was dropped off by the school bus in the area of 6th and Franklin. As the girl was walking home an older, small, red oxidized vehicle, with a single female driver pulled up and was talking to the girl. The driver opened the passenger door and pointed at the passenger seat. The girl’s mother, observed this and ran out yelling at the girl to get away from the vehicle.

The vehicle drove off West bound on Franklin towards Skyline Rd. with the passenger door still open. The woman was estimated to be approximately in her 50’s. The description of the vehicle and driver are very limited.

The Astoria Police Department is requesting anyone with information regarding this vehicle, or driver to contact the Astoria Police Department.

Sergeant Eric Halverson said “Under the circumstances, we are treating this situation like an attempted child abduction. The information and the driver’s behaviors warrant such an approach. If the driver involved in this situation wants to contact us and clarify their actions, we would like to hear from them.”

The Astoria School District has been advised of this situation and are taking actions to notify parents of this incident.

Sergeant Halverson said “The best thing parents can do, is be vigilant, make sure a trusted adult is at the bus stop. If they see anything suspicious they should call us right away. If they have presence of mind to do so, take a picture with their phone, try to memorize a license plate. Even the smallest details may be relevant in helping us resolve suspicious circumstances.”

Is important for parents to talk to their children about the dangers related to child abductions. “We often are lulled into believing that serious crime doesn’t happen in our community,” Said Deputy Chief Johnston. “Yet, we have seen serious crime that belies that belief.” Parents looking for resources can find them at www.missingkids.com, the website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.