CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Cape Girardeau police are searching for a suspicious person after someone tried to pick up an elementary student near Franklin Elementary on February 20.
Officer Darin Hickey says an officer took a report from Franklin Elementary around 3:30 p.m. about a student walking near the school when a white van pulled up and told the child he would turn his vehicle around and pick up the student.
The van turned around, the white, male driver got out and the student ran to the school.
"He said ‘I’m going to turn around and come pick you back up,’" said Officer Hickey. "When the child continued walking, the van did turn around, come back, the driver got out of the van and then started walking toward the child. The child then fled to the school and the van took off. No other conversations were made with the child, no avert act of trying to grab at the child, but the driver did get out and walk toward the child.”
Officers canvassed the area, but no white van was found.
Hickey says the police department did not report the incident immediately to media.
“If we would have felt that there would have been a credible threat to where, [it was] somebody that tried to grab a child then it would have been handled in a completely different way.”
Police are not calling the incident an attempted abduction, but rather a suspicious person.
“We have to treat it as a suspicious person," Hickey said. "We have to treat it as though we need to find out what happened and then investigate it to the fullest extent.”
“You never want to overreact to something because you start having lots of accusations and lots of statements and you start questioning everything and that’s not a police [officer’s] goal. We are here to try to keep people safe and try to maintain that sense or security. We are obviously going to err on the side of caution and if we would have thought that there would have been a credible treat then we would have obviously got that out.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cape Girardeau Police Department at 573-335-6621.