ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A man taken into custody regarding a reported attempted abduction was released Monday after police determined that the report was a misunderstanding.
Police initially said that someone approached a Hoech Middle School student while he or she waited for a bus, according to a letter sent to parents. The student quickly ran to a business and reported the person along with a fellow student who saw the incident.
Police quickly found the car described in the incident and put them in custody. No charges were filed after the misunderstanding was identified.
Here is Superintendent Chris Kilbride's letter to parents this morning:
Dear Ritenour Families,
I wanted to make you aware that a Hoech Middle School student is safe and a suspect is in police custody after the student was approached by a stranger this morning while waiting for her school bus in Breckenridge Hills.
When the student was asked to get into the stranger's vehicle, they ran to a nearby business and reported it. Breckenridge Hills police were called immediately.
Meanwhile, another student who witnessed the alleged attempted abduction ran home and told a parent. Both students did the right thing by running away from the vehicle, telling a responsible adult and giving police an accurate description of the person and vehicle.
Police were able to quickly find the vehicle and suspect that matched the students' descriptions. They continue to hold this suspect in custody pending charges.
Although we regret that this kind of incident occurred in our community, we are relieved that students are safe and that a suspect is in custody.
I encourage you to remind your children to stay safe and alert as they travel to and from school each day. I also encourage parents to work together in their neighborhoods to provide an adult presence at bus stops and to help monitor children as they walk to and from school. Working together we can keep every Ritenour student safe, every day.
Below are some tips adapted from information provided by the St. Louis County Police Department:
Be aware of your surroundings. Know what cars and people are nearby.
Travel with others - avoid being places outside the home alone or traveling alone.
Never approach a stranger's car. Even if a person is asking for help or directions, children should move away from the car. The safety of the children is more important than giving directions.
If children routinely see the same car parked (or following them) on their normal walking routes (to and from school, etc.), they should report it to authorities immediately.
Do not talk to adults you do not know. Anytime you are approached by an adult, you should check with a parent or trusted adult immediately. If a stranger begins talking to you every day, such as saying "hi" or asking questions, or tries to become your friend, tell your parents or another trusted adult.
If a child observes something unusual, then he/she should report it to his/her parents and/or the police.
Thank you for your ongoing assistance.
Dr. Chris Kilbride
Ritenour School District Superintendent