Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman with the Sheriff’s Office, said detectives are investigating an incident reported March 2 by a man who said his 10-year-old daughter and her friends told him they were chased by a stranger during a birthday party scavenger hunt.
“The girls explained to investigators that they ran away from the man and into the woods,” Baker said. “The girls then went back to the house where the party was taking place, and the homeowner called 911.”
Baker said deputies were unable to find a suspect or vehicle but have conducted interviews with two of the three children involved as well as a neighbor who corroborated several details.
Baker added it was possible the children may have misinterpreted what occurred, but investigators believe the story is credible.
“The two girls’ stories were very believable,” Baker said. “A third party unconnected to the investigation and lives in area said they heard screams and saw a car similar to the description but didn’t see the suspect. We do not believe this was something that was made up.”
He noted investigators are still unclear on the man’s intention and are encouraging him to come forward.
“Certainly this was inappropriate and concerning, but we don’t really know what his intent was,” Baker said.
He said the suspect is described as a white man in his late 20s or early 30s of average height and build with dark hair. The man was seen driving a silver four-door sedan, possibly an Audi, Volkswagen Jetta or a Honda. Investigators believe the car to be a 2000s model with dark tinted windows, some visible scratches and small dents. The last three numbers of the tag are possibly 697.
Baker said detectives are comparing the suspect’s description with sex offenders who live in the area and disseminating the suspect’s information to residents who are urged to call 911 if they see the suspect or his car.
The Liberty Elementary School PTA posted the following message on the school’s Facebook page Thursday:
“Parents, we would like to make you aware of a situation going on in our area. There has been attempted child abduction in the area. The suspected car has been seen in various places such as bus stops and gymnastics facilities. The car is a gray sedan with tinted windows. There may also be a black car working alongside. The suspect has gotten out of the car to chase children and attempted to grab individuals. Please be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Call 911 if you see any suspicious behavior. Please be sure that children are not at the bus stops alone in the morning or afternoon....”