Edmond police are cautioning area residents to use caution when allowing their children to play outside. An 8-year-old boy on Friday reported an attempted kidnapping in the Pine Valley neighborhood near Danforth and Santa Fe.The boy says he was out riding his bike and visiting friends when a man in a newer model black pickup told him to get in the vehicle. The man was described as a tall white male with a deep voice, wearing all black and a ski mask with long hair showing beneath the mask.The boy refused to get in the truck and got on his bike. He says as he tried to ride away, the man followed him. He rode nearly 8 miles to 164th and MacArthur trying to get away, where he saw a police squad car and asked for help. An off-duty Oklahoma City police officer called police, but Oklahoma City police officers say they have little to go on after taking the boy's report. They say the boy could neither "prove nor disprove" his account. No arrest has been made, but police are comparing his story with other police reports.The boy's mother says it would be unlike him to make something up, and that he stuck to his story even after being questioned by both Oklahoma City police and Edmond police. She also questioned him, thinking that because he was found 8 miles from home, he may have gotten into the truck with the man. However, the boy maintains his story.Three residents in the Pine Valley addition report seeing a black pickup truck in the area Friday evening, and one reported that the driver parked the truck and sat in the vehicle.Sheriff.org reports the following steps for protecting your children from abduction:
- Know your child's whereabouts at all times.
- At a very early age, teach your child their name, address and telephone number and your first and last name.
- Teach them how to call 9-1-1 for help. When using the telephone for these lessons, make sure the call to 9-1-1 doesn't actually connect.
- Make sure children know how to make local and long distance telephone calls.
- Never leave children alone in a car, not even for a few seconds.
- Establish strict procedures for picking up children at school, after movies, at friends' homes, etc.
- Establish a family code word that only you, your child and a trusted relative or friend knows. Teach your child to ask for the code word when approached by someone offering them a ride.
- Remind your children to never accept a ride from someone you don't know, even if the child knows them.
- Talk to your children about child abduction in a simple, non-threatening way.
- Listen to your child when he or she discusses anyone they have met or spoken with when you weren't around.
- Have photographs taken of your children at least four times a year (especially for preschoolers). Make note of birthmarks or other distinguishing features.
- Have your child fingerprinted and store the prints in a safe, easily accessible place in your home.
Teach your children to:
- never leave home without your permission. Very small children should play only in areas away from the street, such as a backyard, or in a play area supervised by a responsible adult.
- never wander off, to avoid lonely places, and to avoid shortcuts through alleys or deserted areas. They are safer walking or playing with friends.
- come straight home from school unless you have made other arrangements.
- never enter anyone's home without your approval.
- scream, run away and tell you or a trusted adult if anyone attempts to touch or grab them, of if a stranger offers them a ride.
- never give any information over the telephone including their name and address, or indicate they are alone.
- keep doors locked and admit only authorized people into the house.
Stranger abductions are rare, but they do occur. By following certain safety precautions and equipping your children with the knowledge they need to stay safe, you can help prevent a kidnapping.