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Actual abduction attempt or just a frightened child?
Police say the public is not at risk despite Facebook concern in the wake of a reported attempted abduction of a three-year-old child.
Social media reports have been spreading like wildfire about an Asian male trying to grab the girl from her grandmother’s home south of Duncan.
But in the absence of corroborating evidence, North Cowichan /Duncan RCMP do not want to create unnecessary concern.
“There hasn’t been a criminal offense that’s occured and we just don’t have the facts. We’re relying on the words of a three-year-old child,” said North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Cpl. Krista Hobday Tuesday of an incident reported to police Aug. 25. “If there was a predator out there and we could back that up with facts and a criminal offense, you’d be the first person we’d be notifying.”
Cowichan’s Erica Melissa Joe is the mother of the three-year-old who was “grabbed” by the alleged culprit. She posted about the incident on Facebook.
“Neighbours said they have seen him for the past few weeks biking around on the reserve of Cowichan Tribes (Wil’seem Road area),” said Joe in an email to the News Leader Pictorial. “He literally pulled my three-year-old out of the bay window last Sunday. Cops were called but couldn’t locate the man.”
Joe wasn’t there at the time. Her mother was watching her daughter, but was in another room of the house when she heard yelling. Joe’s younger brother went outside and found an older Asian male in his late 40s or early 50s, who seemed to be confused when asked what he was doing on the property.
Joe also said her daughter again saw the same man standing by the window at her parent’s place, Aug. 31. When Joe went to check, the man wasn’t there, but she was later notified by neighbours he had been spotted in the area again.
“I never saw him but my three-year-old said ‘Mommy that man is back’ and cops were called again and they had cop cars looking all up and down the road and surrounding areas,” Joe said. “Someone commented on my Facebook status and said they had seen a guy biking down Boys Road by the fish hatchery area but cops couldn’t find him.
“I haven’t been able to sleep since,” she said, noting she was hoping to warn other parents on Facebook to be mindful.
Hobday confirmed police are still searching for the man described by the Joe family.
“We still definitely want to identify this man and his intentions and his connections to that neighbourhood,” she said. “For all we know, he could be just collecting bottles or just riding his bike.”
“This seems to have become more of a knee-jerk Facebook reaction,” she said, noting police would be more inclined to issue a public safety press release, if it was more clear a criminal act had occurred.