Hunt is on for foiled abductor

By Beckie Ferguson
BDN Staff Writer

A report of an attempted abduction of a 6-year-old Cape Fair girl has law
enforcement officers on the hunt for a white male, possibly wearing an
eye patch.

Stone County deputies responded to a report of the incident near the
First Baptist Church on Missouri 76 just before 9 p.m. Monday, Sheriff
Richard Hill said Tuesday.

“We got a call from the mother who said her 6-year-old daughter told her
someone had attempted to abduct her while she was out playing. She told
our officers that she’d been playing hide-and-seek with her friends when
she noticed a guy in the parking lot,” Hill said. “She said she hid
behind the church, which is next to the trailer park where her friends
live. They were all playing right there. She said she was hiding at the
corner of the church when he came up and grabbed her.

“She started screaming and her friends came running and they were
screaming so he let her go and ran off into the woods. She said he had a
large knife and wore a patch over his eye. We don’t know if the patch is
something he has to wear or if it was a possible disguise.”

Hill said deputies with search dogs combed the woods in the area until 2
a.m. Tuesday. It was difficult for the dogs to pick up a scent because so
many people had joined the search.

“It was a shot in the dark with the dogs, because so many of the
neighbors were out looking for the guy, as well,” Hill said.

He said deputies resumed the search early Tuesday, canvassing
neighborhoods and notifying businesses to be on the lookout. The suspect
was described by his young victim as having short, brown hair and wearing
a blue shirt, cut-off blue jeans and work boots.

Hill said although only 6, the girl was able to give a detailed account
of the incident.

“She was very specific on it,” Hill said. “We talked to her a number of
times and the information she gave didn’t change. She did notice him in
the parking lot of the church so she had a chance to see him before it
happened. He didn’t just come up behind her and grab her.”

Hill said investigators are searching criminal files in hopes of finding
a possible match.

“We’re not only checking all our files, we’re contacting adjoining
counties in Missouri and Arkansas to see if their officers have had
previous contact with someone who could be our suspect. We’re also
checking the convicted sex offender lists.”

Hill said investigators are hoping the public will be able to help them
identify the suspect.

“We need all the help we can get on this,” the sheriff said. “If anyone
thinks they might know who this person is, based on the description we’ve
given, we need to hear from them. If nothing else, to eliminate the
person as a suspect. Also, we’re asking anyone visiting the area – maybe
camping in the woods – who may have seen something or someone suspicious
Monday night, to call us.”

Hill said he didn’t know if the 6-year-old had been taught what to do in
such a situation, but she took the right actions.

“When she first saw him, she left the area. And when he grabbed her she
screamed and got the attention of other people. It sounds like she did
the right thing.”

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the Stone County
Sheriff’s Office at (417) 357-6116.

Copyright © 2005 The Branson Daily News

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