Teen escapes abduction attempt

Police seeking assistance from public to help officers identify,
apprehend suspect.

By JON OTTMAN – Staff Writer

Shelby Township police are continuing their search for a man who
attempted to abduct a teen on her way to school.

Detective Lt. Steven Stanbury, commander of the township’s Criminal
Investigation Bureau said that the 16-year-old girl was walking along
Luann at approximately 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

“She was walking to a friend’s house to get a ride to commute to
Eisenhower High School,” Stanbury said.

Reports indicate that a male subject approached the teen from behind,
then initiated contact, asking questions about her age and typical route
walking to school.

After a few moments, the man then grabbed the girl around the waist and
attempted to cover her mouth to prevent her from screaming for assistance.

Stanbury said that the girl wisely put up resistance, dropped to the
ground and managed to break the grip of her assailant, continuing her
fight as he struggled to get her under control. The girl also managed to
shake off the man’s grip on her face, clearing her mouth to breathe and
yell for help.

“That’s what I think scared him off,” Stanbury said. “She kept fighting
and he figured that if he was going to keep trying, he was going to get
caught with her yelling for help.”

The suspect entered a nearby dark-green sedan and fled the area.

The victim was shaken up but was not seriously harmed in the incident,
police said.

Officers were quickly contacted and they converged on the area but were
unsuccessful in finding the assailant.

The victim provided a description to police and a forensic sketch was
created using that information.

The male is described as 20 to 30 years of age and approximately 5 feet
10 inches tall. He weighed around 200 pounds, had a crew cut and was
clean shaven.

The man was last seen wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and work gloves.

Stanbury said that the incident is highly unusual for the area, but also
highly alarming.

“People tend to think that these types of things don’t happen in Shelby
Township, but it shows that you have to keep your head and your guard
up,” he said. “Here, she was near her home and probably felt comfortable,
he came up behind her, but she even knew he was there and talked to him
before he grabbed her.”

Stanbury suggested that students should, if possible, move in groups and
be aware of their surroundings.

“I think most parents talk to their kids about not talking to strangers,
but I don’t think that they talk about actually what to do if someone
grabs them,” he said. “It’s something that you can talk to them about
when the time is right, and it’s something that you can tell them without
scaring them into being afraid of everybody they come in contact with.”

In the case of an attempted abduction, children – or adults for that
matter – should yell for help to attract attention, while fighting back
to avoid being taken from the scene, even if a weapon is involved.

It’s a tough situation, he said, but one where the human “fight or
flight” response really kicks in.

“You don’t want to be taken away from that point of initial contact,”
Stanbury said. “You don’t want to be taken.”

Anyone who may have seen such a vehicle or suspect in the area or those
who may have information regarding this incident is asked to contact
Shelby Township Police at 731-2121, Ext. 315.

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