Town proud of girls who thwart apparent abduction attempt

Kevin Duchschere,  Star Tribune
March 3, 2005 COKATO0304

COKATO, Minn. — Cokato residents expressed pride Thursday in the three
grade school girls who ran from an apparent would-be kidnapper Wednesday
and then gave authorities a description of him and his van.

”Reactions are ranging from the very typical ‘I can’t believe this
happened here’ to how impressed they were with how the kids handled
things,” said Mike Worcester, director of the Cokato Museum.

The museum is near the grade school where the girls were headed early
Wednesday when a man said to be in his 20s tried to coax each of them
separately to get into his van.

The girls said the man had short brown hair, possibly a moustache, and
wore blue jeans and an orange shirt or sweatshirt. He was reportedly
driving a green or blue-green van with a gray interior.

Stacy Doyle, spokeswoman for the Wright County Sheriff’s Department, said
Thursday no arrests had been made. Investigators were following a number
of tips phoned in by the public, she said.

School at Cokato Elementary continued as usual Thursday, although some
parents volunteered to watch the school grounds, and TV trucks circled
the building.

At noon recess, students were given the choice of going outside to play
or staying inside the school, Principal Lorene Force said.

”People in a small community say that things can’t happen here, but they
do,” she said.

Cokato is a city of 2,700 in western Wright County.

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