Middle school student escapes potential kidnapper in Charlotte County

A child was followed and almost kidnapped, and her potential abductor is still on the streets. A nearby adult witnessed the incident and made sure she was safe.

Neighbors told WINK News they are worried about this kind of danger happening near their homes.

Tuesday, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of a suspicious vehicle in the area of Port Charlotte.

According to CCSO, a middle school student said she was walking to Murdock Middle School when a strange man tried to get her into his car along the 1400 block of Kenesaw Street.

An adult witness saw the entire incident, and their presence likely helped keep the student safe. They observed the vehicle with an adult male with dirty blonde hair and a clean-shaven face approach the student in a maroon Jeep Liberty SUV, likely a 2007-2009 model, with a temporary license tag.

The witness said the driver of the SUV noticed them observing and sped off down Castlerock Lane when they walked toward them. The witness then waited with the student until the deputy arrived.

Neighbors told us many kids walk to school in the area. There is a church and a preschool down the street as well.

”You leave your kid to go to school,” neighbor Rodney Williams said. “Now, you worried about if they’re going to make it back.”

Williams said he thinks about these kinds of dangerous encounters for kids every day, since his son was also approached by a stranger years ago. His son said he was about 8 years old at the time, and the stranger tried to lure him into a wooded area.

”The law did take care of it,” Williams said. “So I’m pretty happy about that.”

But the recent encounter a female student a couple streets from the Williams family brings back bad memories.

“We worry,” Williams said. “We got kids everywhere.”

The incident remains under investigation.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website shows four sex offenders live within a mile of where the incident was reported.

“Happening more period,” Williams said. “I don’t know if it’s the change or if it’s just a lot more out here because of the laws. They release them. They shouldn’t be out.”

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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