Reported abduction attempt now called a 'misunderstanding'
Police now say that what was reported as an attempted abduction of an 11-year-old girl Wednesday afternoon was nothing more than a misunderstanding.
According to Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen, three male teenagers were in a car that was turning into a driveway and stopped quickly when the driver noticed the girl on a sidewalk, about to cross the driveway.
The incident happened at about 3:10 p.m. Wednesday in the 900 block of Grandview Drive.
The driver and a passenger reportedly waved for the girl to continue across the driveway in front of the car, with at least one of them saying, "Come on, come on."
The girl didn't know why the car had stopped and thought she heard the occupants saying, "Come here, come here," Jensen reported in a phone call Thursday afternoon. She became frightened, dropped her school bag and took off running between houses.
The frightened girl came across some high school students, who called her father, and he notified police.
Jensen said the driver of the car was dropping off a friend who lives on Grandview Drive. All three occupants of the car were 17-year-old Hudson High School students.
After police interviewed the 11-year-old girl Wednesday evening, the Hudson School District sent out a safety alert via phone and email messages warning students to be aware of their surroundings on their way to and from school. They were also told to report any suspicious activity by strangers.
The mother of the boy who was being dropped off at his home when the incident happened read the safety alert and was upset that it had happened in their neighborhood.
According to Jensen, that was when her son informed her that he was involved in it. The mother called the police, who interviewed the boy at about 10 p.m. Wednesday. He related what is now known about the incident.
Thursday morning, police interviewed the other two teenagers who were in the car, and talked to the 11-year-old girl again.
Jensen said the two teens corroborated the first teen's story.
The girl said she had misunderstood the teens to be saying, "Come here, come here." She said she didn't actually seen anyone get out of the car to chase her, but she thought they were going to.
"We don't have a prank. We've got emails flying around that these high school kids did it as a prank," the police chief said. "It wasn't a prank. It was just a misunderstanding."
"I'm just glad that's what happened. I'm glad that's what it turned out to be," Jensen said.
He said the police department and school district erred on the side of caution in warning parents about the incident.
"You want to keep the public informed as much as you can," Jensen said. "Based on the information that we had, we didn't have any reason to doubt what (the girl) was telling us. She was very upset. She was very believable when she told us that."
The original warning said that an older white car had stopped on Grandview Drive next to the girl, who was walking home from Hudson Middle School. A man and woman were reported to have been inside the car, and to have told the girl to get into the car.
They were said to have chased the girl on foot when she refused their order.
The police had said they were looking for a man and woman believed to be in their 30s.
Twin Cities television stations reported the incident on their Thursday morning newscasts and asked the public's help in finding the couple.
Jensen said news alerts can bring tips from citizens that help solve cases.
The phone call from the mother of one of the teens involved in the incident resolved fears about child abductors on the loose.
"The Hudson Police Department wishes to thank all those individuals who called in tips regarding this incident," the department said in a statement announcing that the search for suspects had been called off.
"We especially want to that the Hudson School District for sending out the warning notice to all parents to make them aware of this incident," the statement said.