Naples Park community rallies together amid recent abduction attempts

Published: November 13, 2020 3:43 PM EST
Updated: November 13, 2020 5:49 PM EST

Community members want answers after investigators say an unknown man tried to abduct four different women in Naples Park recently.

The sheriff’s office has been passing out fliers of a police sketch of a man accused of attacking a woman and trying to get three others into a van. All the victims report it happened while they were jogging around the Naples Park area in North Naples.

Sketch of the suspect wanted in connection with at least one attempted kidnapping of a jogger. Credit: Collier County Sheriff’s Office

Marsha Oenick has lived in Naples Park for six years, and she’s now president of the Naples Park Area Association.

“It’s a very friendly neighborhood, close to Vanderbilt Beach, close to a lot of amenities,” Oenick said.

The news that a man might have tried to abduct four women in Naples Park was shocking.

“We’re a low-crime area, so it was a little surprising to hear this news, very surprising,” Oenick said.

Before these reported attempted kidnappings, the concerns in the community were not as worrisome.

“We’d like people to go slower on the streets,” Oenick said.

Liz Kavanagh and Rachel Alvarez met in person for the first time Friday. They first started talking on Facebook, discussing the man who deputies say tried to abduct four women in their neighborhood.

“I have a daughter that’s 23 who’s getting ready to come back to the area,” Kavanaugh said. “She’s a runner. I worry that she’s going to go out, and someone’s going to go after her.”

They couldn’t sit by quietly.

“I’m trying to get our streets back,” Alvarez said. “Everyone who wants to have a good time and enjoy our weather, and I mean this. I want them to feel safe like I used to.”

The two women decided to form a neighborhood watch group, getting weather-proof fliers with the suspect’s sketch put up in high-traffic areas and encouraging deputies to keep them informed.

“They need to reach out to the people who are in this specific vicinity and make sure that they have the information that they need,” Kavanagh said.

The women aren’t sure the neighborhood watch will carry beyond this incident. they hope to gather neighbors over the weekend to hand out more fliers to get the word out.

“I want to. I’m happy to. I stand ready to,” Alvarez said.

For now, their main task is doing everything they can to get this man caught.

“Whatever day you’re having, we can walk at the end of our day and in paradise, and it’s not paradise with a predator at large,” Alvarez said.

Deputies continued to follow up on leads Friday and process evidence. They’re also increasing patrols in the neighborhood with both uniformed and undercover officers.

Oenick is confident the sheriff’s office will get this man off the streets. They also have a deputy attending to their next Naples Park Area Association meeting.

“To give safety tips and to help us figure out how to continue making Naples Park a great place to live,” Oenick said.