TOP STORY OF THE DAY Brought to you FREE by WICU: Officials confirm attempted abduction investigation stalled, but there's still a lesson to learn about child safety

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Although the investigation into an alleged abduction of a young girl in Clay City mid-August has not developed any “credible evidence” it happened at this time, law enforcement officials say people still need to be aware of their surroundings while keeping a watch for strange or suspicious people and vehicles.

Since the beginning of the investigation, Clay City Police Chief Terry Skaggs said there wasn’t much to go on about the incident reported a month ago.

On Monday, Aug. 17, the unidentified family contacted the department to report an underage girl was outside with the family dog when someone came up from behind, grabbed and threw her into the trunk of a car. As the vehicle drove away, the girl was able to pull the safety hatch from inside the trunk and escape. The victim provided limited information about the possible car and the person who grabbed her.

The report was taken seriously, explained Skaggs, which is why the public was quickly asked to help. But officers have not been able to find anyone else who saw or heard anything connected with the incident.

“That’s basically all we had. I told the young lady then that we were happy she was unharmed and able to help herself out of a bad situation. But we have not uncovered any new information in two months,” said Skaggs, who understands that makes it difficult for the upset family, and the girl. “I don’t want a child to feel like they can’t report something or won’t be believed when something goes wrong. Law enforcement has to take every report of this type seriously.”

Skaggs confirmed the investigation, while stalled at this time, will remain open because there is always a chance that someone saw or heard something, and they just don’t know it is crucial.

The current level of attention on social media about children’s sex trafficking (#saveourchildren) has many families with children anxious about their children’s safety. Add on that many children are staying home from school due to COVID-19 while parents have to go to work, and Skaggs and other law enforcement officers, understand the overall frustration of families.

“There are many children home from school right now, and many are not staying at home as they should. I see kids of all ages out on the streets during the afternoon myself. It’s a scary situation right now,” said the police chief. “No one knows what they would do if someone grabbed them from behind and threw them into a trunk, especially if you are a child.”

If anyone with information about this alleged abduction on Aug. 17 in Clay City, Skaggs urges them to call 812-939-2311 or the Clay County Dispatch Center at 812-446-2535, extension 5.

“We need to teach children to dial 911 and talk to authorities right away, that way, we can get officers on the way to help,” said Skaggs, who believes children have to learn to trust adults during these challenging times. “Trust is important right now. So, while we haven’t been able to verify what happened yet, the good thing at this point, in this situation, is a young lady apparently found herself in a bad situation, but she was proactive and got out, and she’s safe. This story might not be verified, but the lesson to be taught from it is valid.”

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