Parents urged to educate families after reported abduction attempts in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There have been several reports recently of children approached by strangers in Louisville.

Despite dozens of leads, police still have no suspects and haven't made any arrests. But LMPD said more parents are being alert and proactive in talking to their children about potential dangers.

Sara Ford, who lives in Norton Commons where police are investigating two reported incidents of adults trying to lure children into vehicles, said she heard about the first case through the NextDoor app. And on the day of second incident, she said he had allowed her 9-year-old to walk about the block with the family dog. Now, she's taking action.

"We have talked about the stranger danger conversation and about having a safe word, so if someone tries to pick them up that they will know that it came directly from their parents," Ford said.

LMPD Eighth Division Sgt. Pat Bass said investigators have a description of the vehicle involved in the attempts.

"It is a dark-colored SUV,: could be a Lexus, possibly newer model," he said.

Bass confirmed there have been several reports of a white female approaching children, but there have been no arrests, and no suspects have been identified. He said the positive part of the situation is that it has brought a lot of awareness.

"A lot of parents have talked to their kids because of this Norton Commons incident," he said.

Sonja Grey is executive director of the Exploited Children's Help Organization or ECHO, which is working to educate the children and adults.

"We have already reached out to the Norton Commons community to see what type of help we can provide for them," Grey said. "Not all strangers are just men."

In fact, recent reports have included a female suspect, and that's why ECHO uses educational video featuring a woman trying to lure children to teach them that "stranger danger" can come in many forms.

In one video, the woman opens a car door and tells a child that there's a family emergency.

Grey said ECHO will meet with parents and children next month in Norton Commons.

"The children need to be empowered in case they are approached," she said. "But the parents also need to be educated in the act, if something does happen, if the child goes missing or if a child comes and reports to them that a stranger has approached them."

ECHO has a list of safety tips you can review with your children including telling them to drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite and scream. See them below:

  • Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t take anything from strangers.
  • Don’t go anywhere with someone you don’t know.
  • Stay more than an arm’s reach from strangers. If you are approached by a strangers, seek help immediately.
  • Trust your instincts, if you feel you are being followed or something is not right, seek help immediately.
  • Use the buddy system, avoid walking anywhere along.
  • Review contact telephone numbers and home safety practices.
  • When seeking help, always go to a trusted adult – teacher, coach, police officer, other parent, or older siblings.
  • If a stranger grabs you, do everything you can to stop him or her from pulling you away.
  • Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream. Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others who can help you. If someone is dragging you away, scream, “this is not my dad,” or “this is not my mom.”
  • Report any suspicious activity to your local school and police department.

To learn more safety tips from ECHO, CLICK HERE.

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