By Yessenia Anderson
MEDFORD, Ore. — Law enforcement in Southern Oregon has received several reports of attempted kidnappings; it’s a threat that has both police and parents on high alert.
The reports happened in the cities of Phoenix and Williams in Josephine County; two girls were taken in the early morning hours, but were able to escape their abductor. Police say those two teenagers jumped out of the moving truck to safety.
In each case the approach was the same: the suspects approached the children on a lonely street and attempted to lure them into their car. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing. Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members and 58,000 are abducted by strangers, for which the primary motive is sexual.
Medford Police says there is a common thread that runs through the individuals that are involved in these incidents:
“Suspects are opportunistic; they’ll drive around and wait for the right opportunity. They’ll wait to see the young person, or the female walking down the road by themselves,” states Medford Police Sergeant Brent Mak.
The Children’s Advocacy Center says by avoid high-risk situations like poorly lit areas. But in a worst-case scenario, a recovery can be sped up with the right tools. The Center advises taking pictures every six months and storing identifiers like medical and dental records, but safety prep should begin with communication. State police say by yelling, kicking and screaming, victims’ actions enable them to escape attempted abductions more than 80% of the time.
In the Phoenix case, police says they have two people of interest and are working to make contact with the individuals they have identified.