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STARTUP  WEATHER
Temperature: 43.9°F | Humidity: 78% | Pressure: 30.01in ( Falling) | Conditions: Overcast | Wind Direction: ESE | Wind Speed: 8.0mph
STARTUP

POLICE SEARCH FOR SUSPECT IN ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION IN STARTUP
October 01, 2009




Police sketch of suspect in attempted abduction in Startup. CLICK TO ENLARGE


Aerial view of location where attempted abduction took place. CLICK TO ENLARGE
(STARTUP, WA) -- It may be a parent’s worst nightmare; a child abducted by a stranger not far from the safety of her own home. Although abduction of a child by stranger is an exceedingly rare crime, when it happens close to home or to a loved one, it is one of the most terrifying of all life events for any family.

And authorities say it almost happened Tuesday in Startup.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s office is investigating a reported attempted abduction of a young girl in Startup Tuesday.

Rebecca Hover, spokeswoman for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office says a 10-year old second grade girl reported she was waiting at a bus stop near the 14200 block of 367th Ave. SE Tuesday morning when a man ran toward her. She became frightened and ran to a nearby neighbor’s house.

The girl said the man then followed her and came at least partway down the driveway of the neighbor’s house before he ran off. The girl went home and told her dad what happened and he in turn went outside and looked for the suspect.

The father reported seeing a man he didn’t recognize get into a faded green truck, possibly a Datsun (1970s or 1980s model) and drive off. The father later called 911.

< SEE POLICE SKETCH TO UPPER RIGHT, CLICK TO ENLARGE >

Deputies searched the area but didn’t spot the suspect vehicle. It is not known if the man in the truck is the same person the girl said chased her.

The girl – who only saw the suspect on foot - described the suspect as a white male, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and bald, possibly in his mid 20s. He is described as having a medium build and was wearing ripped blue jeans and a dark blue T-shirt.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Sheriff’s tip line at 425-388-3845.

< WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE >

From what is known from national statistics of child abductions by strangers, it appears that children who fight back and/or run have better odds of thwarting the abductor and escaping the prospect of becoming entrapped in the abductor’s vehicle.

A study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, examined 403 attempted kidnappings by strangers (or slight acquaintances) that were reported by police or news media in 45 states from February 2005 to July 2006.

It was conducted to learn how such attempts are foiled. The study did not look at successful abductions, only those cases in which the abductor was not able to achieve the objective of snatching the child.

The study found that 60% of the victims who fought back escaped from their would be abductors, according to the ongoing study's initial findings. Thirty percent managed to run away before any physical contact with the abductor and only 10% were saved when an adult nearby intervened.

And according to a 1990 report by the U.S. Justice Department it is important for parents and children to know that in 80% of abductions by strangers, the first contact occurs within a quarter mile of the child's home. In many cases, the abduction does, too.

Most strangers grab their victims on the street or try to lure them into their vehicles and about 74% of the victims of non-family child abduction are girls.

This statistic indicates it is important for neighbors in a community to call 9-1-1 anytime they see a stranger acting suspicious in the area or hanging out in places a stranger does not normally loiter in or slowly driving through the area in a suspicious manner, as many sexual predators are known to case a potential victim’s surroundings and comings and goings over a period of time, in some cases for weeks at a time.

It is to a predator's advantage to have leisurely, undisturbed time in a neighborhood to case the best location in which to grab the victim and the easiest, fastest escape route.

When community members are aware of this and call 9-1-1, an officer inquiring as to what a stranger is doing in the area can often disrupt a predator’s plans and rattle their nerves.

A police contact also serves as a red flag to the predator that neighbors are alert and that this particular neighborhood is a dangerous place for him or her to be selecting potential victims.

Above all, an abductor wants an easy, quick grab of a victim and an easy, fast getaway. The key words in the equation are EASY and FAST.

Anything that sends a warning signal to the predator that those objectives cannot be obtained in a given area will often cause the predator to leave that “hunting ground” and move on.

< ABDUCTION BY STRANGER IS RARE EVENT >

In data analyzed for 1999, in the entire country there were only 115 “stereotypical kidnappings” reported - ones in which children were abducted by strangers or barely known acquaintances, taken more than 50 miles, detained at least overnight or held for ransom.

But even though those cases are rare they are dangerous: in them 50% of the children were harmed to various degrees and about 40% lost their lives.

A much large number of children, about 58,000, were taken that year for shorter periods of time, mostly by people they knew but not relatives. In those cases, nearly half were sexually assaulted and fewer than 1% were killed. Nearly two-thirds of those victims were girls, mostly teens.

The latest statistics on child abduction, according to the United States Justice Department's 2002 report, revealed these child abduction facts:

~ On average, 2,185 children under the age of 18 were reported missing each day of the study year.

~ That adds up to more than 797,500 children annually.

~ Of that total, almost that 204,000 - or about 25 percent -- were family abductions.

~ An estimated 58,200 were abducted by someone other than a family member.

~ Of those 58,200 only 115 were taken by complete or partial strangers and kept for a period or killed.

~ At the time of the latest study (in 2002), at least 322 children had been recovered safely through the AMBER Alert program.

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