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Towanda girl, 15, reports attempted kidnapping in Butler County

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, July 4, 2012, at 12:35 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2012, at 6:40 p.m.

— A 15-year-old Towanda girl narrowly escaped a Tuesday night kidnapping attempt as she walked down a secluded road, Butler County sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.

A 40-year-old man driving a beat-up 1980s vehicle with heavy rust is being sought in the incident, which occurred at about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday, Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said.

The teenager was walking in the area of Clay Hill Road near the Towanda cemetery when the man drove by, made a U-turn and came back brandishing a piece of paper out the car window, Herzet said.

“He stuck that piece of paper out and asked her to come look,” the sheriff said. “She got fairly close, and he grabbed her by the arm.”

The girl shook loose and ran home, Herzet said.

Detectives spent much of Wednesday night interviewing the girl, and believe her account of the events, Herzet said.

“We’re taking this very seriously,” the sheriff said. “The detective interviewed her Tuesday night to put together a true story or see whether this is a kid looking for attention, and that detective believes this really happened.”

The suspect was dressed in a tight, faded blue T-shirt with cargo shorts, Herzet said. In addition, he has an unspecified blue ink tattoo on his left arm.

The vehicle involved in the attempted abduction is a 1980s box-style blue car with a lot of rust, the sheriff said. The vehicle has chrome bumpers, a dent on the driver’s side rear door and in the lower right corner of the back windshield is a sticker of Calvin from the cartoon strip Calvin and Hobbes.

The victim obtained a partial tag number, Herzet said, confirming a Kansas tag, but only the digits 62.

“This kind of stuff doesn’t happen in Butler County, or in Towanda,” Herzet said. “That’s a town where kids can play outside. Small Town USA.

“And on the Fourth, kids are outside, running around. It’s a good day for a perpetrator to be out trolling for kids. People should pay attention and be observant.”

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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