Abduction of 9 year old prompts call for caution

By Andrew Koubaridis

Principal urges parents to remind children of stranger danger after incidents.

Photo / File
Photo / File

A 9-year-old girl was led 50m away from her school by an abductor - one of at least two incidents that have alarmed schools and police.

The girl was waiting on Tuesday outside Ellerslie School on Kalmia St for her sister and mother when a man - dressed in black and wearing a beanie - walked up to her and grabbed her by the arm.

He forcefully took her away from the school, across the footbridge over the motorway, where she saw some Ellerslie School mothers - and saw her chance to escape.

Principal Chris Magner said: "She saw them and started screaming and yelling, she got away."

She was taken after the school bell went at 2.45pm. "It was after school, on the street, while the girl was waiting for her mum and big sister to come out of school."

After she escaped the girl ran back to the school and told her mother what happened, who then called police.

Mr Magner said the incident was frightening. "The police and I are taking it very seriously. We have notified parents and all the other schools, the community itself."

He said the school was now focused on making the last couple of days of the school year as "stable and safe" as possible.

But there would be need for parents to be "extra vigilant" as school finished for the year.

Mr Magner said police had been visible in the community since the abduction scare, describing their presence as "huge". But he was surprised there had been no sightings or witnesses, given where it happened and the time of day. There had been no similar incidents recently.

He had spoken with the 9-year-old and she was unharmed and seemed fine.

He hoped parents would discuss "stranger danger" with their children. "Hopefully, we can learn from this and move on."

Police investigating the abduction told him they knew of suspect people in the area and planned to speak to them as part of their inquiries.

Meanwhile, Churchill Park School, in Glendowie, yesterday issued an "urgent note" to their school community after one of their students was approached at the Crossfield Reserve toilet block yesterday morning.

The note urged parents to be vigilant and to call 111 immediately if they sensed something was wrong, a staff member saying: "Instinct is generally correct".

- NZ Herald

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