ASTORIA, Ore. (KOIN) — Panic over an 8-year-old police believed was lured toward a vehicle dissipated when the daughter of an 85-year-old vocally impaired woman clarified events with police.
Reports a woman tried to lure an eight-year-old girl into her car moments after she stepped of a school bus Thursday were proven false when it became clear an 85-year-old woman, who has damage to her vocal chords, thought the girl looked confused and was attempting to help her.
Astoria Police said the woman pulled up to the girl, at Franklin Street and 6th Avenue, opened the passenger door and pointed to the passenger’s seat.
The girl’s mother, from across the street, saw the exchange and began yelling and screaming for her daughter to move away from the vehicle, and the woman drove off. A police hunt, increased patrols and school alert ensued.
“This incident is a good reminder,” said Astoria Police Deputy Chief Johnston “that parents do need to be vigilant.”
“The 8-year-old girl and her mother both reacted appropriately. While this was a misunderstanding, it was a good test for systems for the family, the school, and the police department.”
Panic in Astoria
Police searched for the woman, who was described as being in her fifties with blonde hair, driving an older, small, faded red car.
Astoria Police Sergeant Eric Halverson said “Under the circumstances, we are treating this situation like an attempted child abduction.”
Additional police patrols will be out next week along school bus routes in both marked an unmarked cars.
Police are encouraging parents to talk to their children about stranger danger and the risks associated.
The school district posted information and additional resources to help parents alert their children.
“I think it’s a really good time for parents to do every thing they can to make sure there’s an adult meeting the child,” said Johnston.