Attempted kidnapping of a Selma middle school student

November 16, 2012 12:37:42 AM PST
Selma police are looking for two men who tried to kidnap a young girl while she was walking to school. The girl was able to break free, run home, and call police.

It happened near the intersection of Pine and Locust streets, about a mile from Abraham Lincoln Middle School around 7:30 in the morning. The girl told police that two Hispanic men drove up in a van. The driver started talking to her, and then a second man got out of the van and tried to pull the girl into the rear doors of the van. That's when the girl broke free.

As a result, every student in the Selma Unified School District received a letter to take home to their parents. The letter detailed the incident and reminded parents to discuss the consequences of such an incident. Trina Castaneda, who has three kids in various Selma Unified schools, said, "When you hear about it in Fresno, you think, oh, that's scary, but when it's right down the street from you it's even more scary."

Castaneda doesn't allow her kids to walk to school as she believes it's too dangerous. When her daughter brought the letter home, Castaneda said her fear only grew stronger. She did say, she's happy that the district acted quickly, and she's glad that teachers addressed the incident. "They told them in class about it, to be safe, to let their parents know, to not be by themselves, to watch and not to talk to strangers."

Selma Police chief Myron Dyck says his officers are out in full force, looking for the two suspects. He said, "It is concerning, our children are our most precious thing we have, nobody wants to see a child hurt".

He also reminded parents, "Whenever possible, walk in groups, stay together, if you're able to, parents, walk together. It doesn't hurt to walk part way, maybe they meet up with another student or another group of students."

Residents who live near Pine and Locust, where the girl was approached, say there's been talk of starting a neighborhood watch. Juanita Escamilla says, "I stand out here and I watch the kids go up and down and you can hear the gangs, people giving their whistles and stuff, it's scary."

The young girl describes the van as an older model, blue and white van, with an air conditioning unit on top that was spray painted blue. She said the driver was in his 50's and had a thick Spanish accent. The second man was in his 30's or 40's and had on a beanie, big dark sunglasses and had dark and very dirty hands like that of a mechanic.


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