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Kidnapping Reports Prompts Safety Awareness

May 20, 2012

By Yessenia Anderson

MEDFORD,Ore. — In less than 24 hours, several reports of attempted kidnappings have surfaced. Parents are on high alert as police say the suspects haven’t been caught. In all the cases, the approach was the same. Police say the suspects were in vehicles when they approached young children and teenagers.

Early Friday morning, a Pheonix officer spotted a driver in a van talking to a young girl waiting at a bus stop. The girl stepped back from the van, the driver noticed the police vehicle and drove off. The officer followed and stopped the van for traffic violations. After giving false information, the driver sped off when he was asked to step out of his car.

A chase began, but ended shortly after the suspect began driving recklessly, making the pursuit a danger to those nearby. The young lady was able to identify a possible suspect from a photo line up.
Knowing that that threat is still out there worries local resident Keri Deatherage.

“It’s scary because it’s really hard if you have more than just one kid and you are by yourself to keep them all together,” said Deatherage.

For two Josephine County teenagers, their kidnappers image is crystal clear in their mind as they shared a car ride with him. The 13 and 14-year-olds were taking a walk at 2 a.m. on Saturday when a pick up truck drove by and grabbed the two girls off the street. As the car slowed, the girls made the daring move and leaped from the truck. For Deatherage, ensuring the safety of her three young ones means arming them with the tools for a dangerous situation.

“My kids know everyone who comes in and out and if they don’t know that person, they are gone. I tell them walk away and if you have to run and scream ‘stranger danger’ or ‘fire’,” said Deatherage.

Whether it be at a grocery store or at the park, police are advising children to travel in groups and be aware of any suspicious person or vehicle.