APD: Last week's attempted student abduction unsubstantiated
No evidence has been found to corroborate an elementary-school student’s report that a man tried to abduct him last week, Anchorage police said Monday, but detectives are still investigating both it and an earlier case involving a middle-school student which is considered to be valid.
MJ Thim, a police spokesman, said that officers responded just before 9 a.m. Friday to the 800 block of Edward Street, just east of Ptarmigan Elementary School, for the second reported abduction attempt. Anchorage School District officials said in a notice to parents Friday that a fifth-grade student had been walking to Ptarmigan when a male suspect approached him on a trail.
School resource officers and APD detectives spoke with the boy, and examined the trail where the abduction attempt allegedly took place.
“We went over to the scene,” Thim said. “We didn’t find any evidence to substantiate his claims, so we re-interviewed the student.”
Police have subsequently classified the Ptarmigan Elementary report a case of “suspicious circumstances,” Thim said. It was never formally considered an attempted child abduction, and Thim emphasized that any information corroborating the initial report would have been released to the public.
“The big question is why the student said that somebody tried to abduct him, and that’s one of the questions we are still trying to figure out,” Thim said. “We interviewed the student multiple times all day, trying to determine what happened and why he said what he said happened.”
Thim said Friday’s case wasn’t being considered a false report of information to law enforcement, like an Oct. 9 incident that prompted a police alert for an endangered child. Jaysielene Tuli Ah Sam, 27, was cited in that case after investigators say she admitted to lying when she claimed her husband had abducted their daughter.
No links were discovered between the Ptarmigan Elementary report and an Oct. 6 case near Clark Middle School, in which a female student told police that a white man in his 30s offered her a ride in his maroon Jeep. She said he tried to grab her and she fought free of him, running to the school to report the encounter.
Thim said residents have submitted a number of tips in that case, and that the Clark student’s responses to specific questions were more credible than those in the Ptarmigan investigation.
“Her description of the suspect was so vivid in the circumstances she had just endured,” Thim said. “She was able to give us enough information, and based on how she was giving the information and what she had seen, the detectives believed they had an official (attempted) child-abduction case.”
No arrests have been made in the Clark case, and Thim said no further details on the suspect were being released Monday. Police were planning to speak with Clark students as they left school Monday afternoon, to discuss tips on personal safety.