Attempted Child abduction at Concerts in the Park
By an edhat subscriber
Last Thursday (7/6/17), my son and I went to the Concert in the Park, and he was almost abducted! Please watch your kids closely, especially in large group settings. This only lasted a few minutes, but had I not been right there, I don't even want to think what could have happened.
The details: We love the concerts at Chase Palm, and look forward to them as our summer rite of passage. We usually bring dinner, some chairs, and sit on the grass in the playground area so that we can watch our kids. Last night, it was just my son and I. He finished dinner and went to play. I noticed a man started talking to him. It is not unusual for our son to talk to people, he is very social. So, we watch him like a hawk.
I looked down to eat something and a minute later looked up to see them move from the standing slide portion of the pirate ship, to the bouncy bridge. I watched as the man got off the bridge and my son did, too. Then they started walking toward the back of the playground, the area by the bell, where the kids climb on top of the cement structure. They turned and headed toward the walkway between the whale and the playground. At this point, I had grabbed my purse and was running toward my son, my tunnel vision and laser focus on my son. At the same time, I knew I had to be calm and get him away from this person. I looked at my son, who was still smiling and talking to this person, and said that I needed him to come to me I had to ask him something. He immediately came to me, and I bear hugged him and whispered that he was almost abducted and that we had to leave right then.
We walked a few steps to our chair/dinner and started gathering things up. The man came around the back side of the iron gate, between the roundabout parking area and the playground and asked my son if he was leaving. We made no contact, and started to leave. When I saw the man go back to the park, I found a park ranger and explained what had happened. We looked for the man for quite some time, and the ranger called for a police officer. This was the first time that I had not seen any police presence during the concert. It took at least 20 minutes for us to get the officer over to the park to take a report.
From my son's perspective, this man came up and asked if he was someone else. When he said no, the man continued talking with him. The man talked about doing some kind of prank with a freaky clown and a fake gun. My son didn't even realize they were walking somewhere, just that they were going to do a prank, and surely had no idea where they were headed. He said the man told him that he was 16. The man looked around early 20s, but seemed to be trying to look younger.
He's about 5'8" or 5'9", thin build was wearing long, royal blue basketball shorts and a tee shirt. He had glasses with thick black rims. He had blondish hair, with a crew cut, and looked to be a bit spiked. My son said he had gray eyes and his voice was a bit squeaky. Again, this happened over only a few minutes and with many other parents at the playground! It was extremely subtle, but I am convinced that the man knew what he was doing and was executing a plan. I guess he assumed that since my son was old enough to play by himself, and didn't have a helicopter parent, that we were in the big scrum of people at the concert. We always sit on the grass in the playground, so I was right there. I was watching the entire time.
So, please always watch your kids, and if you see something that doesn't look right speak up, even if it is not your kid. I have called and spoke to the police watch commander. As of this Monday, no report had been filed, yet.