Teen fights off abductor at bus stop

WARSAW – A 13-year-old girl was almost abducted early Wednesday morning from her bus stop in front of Westhaven Estates on Old 30 Road.

Around 6:40 that morning, a red pickup truck pulled into the lot near the main office where the thirteen year old girl was standing alone.

“I usually do see one person out there before anybody else comes out there,” Beverly Miller said. She lives right next door to Westhaven estates and the bus stop.

Miller said the thirteen year old girl who now lives in Etna Green, gets dropped off early and waits to be picked up. But shortly after she got to Westhaven Estates, someone unexpected, a stranger tried to forcefully pick her up.

According to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, a man in his 30’s pulled into the parking lot. Wearing a camouflage baseball cap, the man parked the red pickup truck in front of the child, got out and grabbed the girl.

Sgt. Chad Hill said the 13-year-old’s screams startled the man and she was able to escape his grasp. The child told police once she got away, he got back into the truck and headed East through the Estate.

“I think we always have that thought, well, this is Warsaw things don’t happen here like that,” Janice Gadson said she was shocked to hear of the attempted abduction.

Gadson doesn’t live far from the bus stop, she said now the whole community is on edge, “We’re all very aware of what can happen and what’s they got a hold of them, they’re gone.”

With that thought in mind, parents did not take any chances Thursday afternoon, children were met by a long line of parents when they exited the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation bus.

Allen Shuterlin was there, “I have a 10-year-old daughter, but I already picked her up from school. Right now, I’m here to meet my friend’s kid.”

Shuterlin said there were a lot more parents out there after word of the attempted kidnapping spread. “...And I don’t blame them, I mean what if it was your kid, I mean, it’s scary!”

People in the area, parents or not said they were concerned, “This took a hit everybody,” Shuterlin said.

Until this person is found, Gadson said she will feel uneasy, “I hope that they find the person, because whoever did it is still out there and they’re probably looking for their next little girl.”

Shuterlin said while some ask ‘what if?’ Like, ‘what if he comes back?’ or ‘what if the next child can’t escape?’ …He has a different question, “What now?”

“Something has to be done,” Shuterlin said.

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department said it’s looking for the driver, a white man in his 30’s with a beard, and truck, a red pickup truck with a topper and a silver stripe.

Sgt. Chad Hill said the department is using a different strategy in this investigation, but would not elaborate any further.

Officials with the school districts in the area said they are always cautious with their students and try to communicate with parents as much as possible regarding safety. But as of Thursday afternoon, the two school corporations in the area, Warsaw and Tippe Valley School Corp. were unaware of the abduction attempt.

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