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Attempted abduction report in Helena was a case of mistaken iden - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Attempted abduction report in Helena was a case of mistaken identity

Posted: Feb 01, 2018 5:58 PM Updated:

What appeared to be an attempted abduction a week ago at Jim Darcy Elementary School was a case of mistaken identity.

The incident began when a second-grade student said that a stranger approached her at the school’s east parking lot last Thursday night.

It turns out the adult was concerned about seeing a child alone at night.

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says the child did the right thing by going for help.

The concerned adult who saw the MTN News report called law enforcement to explain the situation.

Sheriff Dutton says if you’re concerned about a child, start a conversation: “Start talking to them. See if you can get some verbal conversation going with you and try to make an assessment. ‘Hey, are you okay? My name is so-and-so, you look like you need help. Do you know where your mom and dad are? Here’s a phone, can you call your mom and dad? I need to get you to your mom and dad.’”

Dutton said, “If they are confused about that you can pick up the phone and dial 911 and say, ‘I’ve got a lost child here I’m concerned about.’”

Sheriff Dutton emphasizes this was a case of mistaken identity and the community is not in danger.


(JANUARY 29, 2018) Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Deputies are conducting extra evening patrols in the area surrounding Jim Darcy Elementary School following a report of a child being approached by a stranger there last week.

Principal Brian Cummings said the incident took place after a Thursday evening meeting at the school.

According to Cummings, the child told her parents a stranger approached her at the school’s east parking lot.

The child said the unidentified individual chased her and then left in a vehicle that was parked east of the school in vacant commercial lots.

The child was able to give a partial description of the suspect, a male with a crooked nose. His car was parked with its flashers on. A parent got a brief glimpse of the vehicle before it left the area.

Sheriff Leo Dutton said parents did the right thing by immediately calling 911. His deputies were on the scene in moments.

He advised that witnesses try to get a description.

Some questions to consider include: What do they look like? How tall are they? What kind of facial features do they have? Are they wearing glasses? Did they have a mustache? Did they have a beard? What color of shirt? What color of coat?

"What struck you that you remember?" Sheriff Dutton said. "But try to remember colors because when we find somebody, those are the things we're going to use to match up to see if we have the right suspect."

He added that another good thing to look for is the vehicle's license plate number.

Principal Cummings said safety and security are always a priority for Jim Darcy’s more than 400 students.

Cummings urged the community to be extra vigilant following Thursday’s incident.

He said if you see anyone or anything suspicious, call 911 right away.

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