Officials in two Oklahoma City school districts have warned parents to be vigilant after a series of possibly related cases of abduction and molestation in Oklahoma in September and October.
Oklahoma City Public Schools informed parents of the abductions and molestation of three middle school girls in separate incidents on September 16, September 29, and October 29. In each incident, a girl walking to school was to or from school when she was forced into a car, driven to another location, and molested before being released.
In two incidents, the girls were abducted at gunpoint and in one abduction, the girl was threatened with a knife. The car was described as a gray or white four door vehicle. Also on October 29, authorities with Putnam City Schools told parents of an incident in which a group of students walking to an elementary school were approached by a man in a gray PT Cruiser or Chevy HHR who offered them candy to get in the car. The man persisted, but the children refused and notified school officials.
The description of the man is similar to that of the perpetrator in the Oklahoma City molestation. Police suspect that the Oklahoma City child sexual assault and abduction incidents may be related and echo the districts' warnings for extra safety precautions.
Authorities recommend that students walk to and from school in groups, rather than alone, and they warn parents against dropping children off at school early or picking them up late. Police have released a sketch of the suspect. While the circumstances of the abductions and abduction attempt are similar, they are not exact, and the children's descriptions vary somewhat.
It is important that parents be protective of their children's safety without rushing to judgment or succumbing to hysteria. While it's important to keep in mind that anyone can be a sexual predator, following simple safety steps as outlined by authorities can help keep children safe without making them fearful.
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