The parents of students who attend a Pueblo elementary school are on edge. They fear for the safety of their children after hearing about a possible kidnapping right in front of the school.
Pueblo police are investigating the incident that happened on Monday. They received a report from a 10-year-old boy that he was kidnapped from his school Monday and then released unharmed.
Parents are terrified saying the hardest part to accept about the incident is that it could have been their child.
"I was very scared and very concerned because you know having three kids you worry about their safety at school anyway," said Angela Platte, mother of three students.
"It's very scary as a parent, and having a child that is in fourth grade as well, it can happen to any child," said Amanda Lowry, parent of a fourth grader.
The boy told investigators that a man came to his school, Cesar Chavez Academy at 2500 W 18th around 4:39 pm. He was at the flag pole, where the boy normally meets his parents. The man told the boy his mother had sent him to pick him up. The boy got into the stranger's car, but realized when they got to Wild Horse Rd and 4th Rd, north of Pueblo Blvd and Hwy 50 West, that they were not on the way to his house. He asked the man to let him out of the car and the suspect reportedly did so.
The boy was located in the area of 32nd and Baltimore at about 6:46 pm after a lengthy search.
The boy was not injured in the incident. Pueblo police say so far all they have to go on is what the boy has told them about the incident.
The school sent a letter home to parents about the incident. They are now reviewing all their security policies and procedures to ensure this doesn't happen again. They will be enforcing a buddy system so a student never travels anywhere alone. They also encourage parents to establish a safe code word.
The lesson about taking rides from strangers can begin at home.
“He told this child he was there to pick up the child in place of mom and that would be tricky for most kids," said Kid Power director Jan Isaacs Henry Wednesay.
Isaacs Henry calls the reported abduction a classic case of one scenario children can be taught about by a trusted adult.
"If [the request] changes the plan that [a child] already arranged with [the child’s trusted] adults, you need to check first with an adult in charge," Isaacs Henry said.
Four other points good to practice in an interactive way with children in regards to strangers:
-Keep a safe distance.
-Don't talk to them
-Don't take anything from them
-Don't go anywhere with them.
The case Pueblo police are investigating involving the 10-year-old boy had a happy outcome.
"He did a great job, he had a lot of courage in this situation to talk his way out and get out of the car," said Isaacs Henry.
"We believe the best strategy is to empower the youngsters with some skills and tools to deal with these kinds of things," said Henry Roman, executive director of Cesar Chavez Academy.
"I told my kids just to be sure and stay together and we went over their reaction of what to do and where to strike them if they have to," said Mike Trujillo, parent of two kids.
The suspect is being described by police as a 19 to early 20’s Hispanic man 5 feet tall with a slender build. The suspect was wearing a white longer sleeve shirt, blue jeans, dark sunglasses, and short brown hair.
The suspect vehicle is a newer model 4 door silver or gray sedan with black side molding. The car had tinted windows and a black leather interior.
The Pueblo Police Department is asking for any information regarding the suspect or seen a juvenile walking Pueblo Blvd between Hwy 50 West and W 24th st on Monday (May 2) between 3:45 pm 05:30 pm to contact 719-553-2502 or 719-542-STOP.