London police announced late Monday that they’d arrested a suspect in a thwarted child abduction that one expert says underscores the need to teach kids safety tips.
Just before 11 p.m. Monday – a day police spent searching for a suspect described as a man in his 60s – investigators announced a man was under arrest. Charges were pending, police say.
The investigation started on Sunday morning, when police say a four-year-old girl was abducted in an east-end neighbourhood. The child was taken near Barker Street and Melsandra Avenue, north of Huron Street between Adelaide Street and Highbury Avenue, at about 9:15 a.m. Sunday, police said.
She was later found unharmed.
Police had described the suspect as white, approximately 60 years old and five-foot-ten with an average build. He was described as having grey hair and facial hair with a bit of growth. Police said he was wearing a plaid shirt and brown-framed glasses.
The suspect was driving a gold or beige older model, four-door Chevrolet Impala.
Investigators say the girl was playing outside with a sibling when what police describe as witnesses saw a vehicle stop in the middle of the intersection. The man got out of the car and approached the young girl, police said. Then he picked her up and put her inside his car.
Witnesses saw the car driving eastbound on Melsandra Avenue, police say, before driving through the neighbourhood and stopping back in the area where the girl was originally picked up. Witnesses lost sight of the vehicle but gave a description to police.
The young girl was dropped off near her home, then ran to tell her parents, police say. She did not sustain any physical injuries, police say.
The incident was alarming – one veteran police officer called it “extremely troubling” – and reinforces the need to teach children safety tips, says Jessica Huzyk of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
“Stranger abductions, thankfully, are the least common kind of abduction,” she said. “There’s far more attempted abductions than actual successful stranger abductions.
“It’s so, so important that we teach kids how to keep themselves safe.”
She added: “It’s very scary, and it doesn’t ever get less scary. The risks for children, the risks for child victimization, are still there.”
The police probe took an interesting turn Monday morning, when London police said a person they’d arrested Sunday night had been released without charges. Const. Sandasha Bough urged the public to continue helping with the investigation.
“We want to make sure that the tips don’t stop,” she said. “We want the public to know that we don’t have anybody in custody at this time.”
A four-year-old child was abducted and found unharmed Sunday, London police say.
They’re looking for an older male who was driving a gold or beige older model, four-door, Chevrolet Impala.
The child was taken in the area of Barker Street and Melsandra Avenue, which is north of Huron Street between Adelaide Street and Highbury Avenue, about 9:15 a.m., police said.
Witnesses followed the vehicle and the child was found shortly after, with no physical injuries, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-661-5670 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.