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Police Seek Public's Help After Girls' Abduction Outside L.A. Elementary

Two Wilshire Crest students, 8 and 10, were taken, and one was sexually abused, authorities say. Parents are urged to be vigilant.

June 08, 2004|Joy Buchanan | Times Staff Writer

Police, faculty and parents were on heightened alert Monday at Wilshire Crest Elementary School on Olympic Boulevard after two young students were abducted and one was sexually abused, police said.

Authorities appealed to the public for help and circulated a composite drawing of the suspect, described as a white male, 26 to 30 years old, about 6 feet tall, with light hair and eyes, wearing a dark-green baseball cap.

At an assembly for 650 students Monday, Principal Joan McConico cautioned children to be careful.

"The children's safety is our priority," McConico said. "We are assuring parents that Wilshire Crest is a safe haven for children."

McConico said children are not allowed to wait in front of the school for rides. They are supposed to wait inside or in a fenced-in parking lot.

Special patrols will be scheduled around the school until June 17, the last day of classes before summer recess, police said.

The man approached two girls, 8 and 10, on the sidewalk outside the school about 2:45 p.m. Friday, according to police. He lured the girls into his black, four-door Honda by asking for their help in finding his lost dog.

Police believe he made the girls drink alcohol, which made them sleepy. He took them to a motel, where he sexually abused the younger girl.

Police said the abductor was seen about 6:15 p.m. leaving the girls on a sidewalk about two miles from the school. Police said the girls were conscious when the man left them, but they did not elaborate.

Los Angeles School Police Department officials said the event was very unusual. LAPD Det. Paul Bishop said there had been no similar incidents in the area in the last year. Bishop urged parents to better explain to children what being careful of strangers means.

"Sometimes, kids have a tendency not to focus on the stranger, but on what the stranger is saying," he said.

On Monday afternoon, parents said children should be more careful and parents must be more responsible.

Tracy Goss came earlier than usual to pick up her fourth-grade daughter.

"It's a fear for me now," she said. "We live around the block. I don't know if this guy will be around the neighborhood."

Fred Eisenhart came to get his two grandsons and three other neighborhood children. He said parents needed to be more vigilant.

"We always tell the kids: You stay inside. We'll pick you up on the inside," Eisenhart said.

The girls "shouldn't have been out there. Everybody has got to be more alert today."

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