Washington County, Tennessee investigators are warning parents to keep a close eye on their children after two reports of people attempting to abduct children.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) says they have received two reports from parents saying a man tried to take a child.
Investigators say those reports were filed on September 23 and September 29, both in the same general area in the Telford community.
The first incident involved two girls, ages 7 and 9, playing in their yard.
“My girls were out on the trampoline playing. I ran in just a split second and came back out and the car was in our driveway, he was motioning for the girls to come to the car,” says Cathy Malone Livingston, their mother. She filed a police report immediately.
“We had a report that a purple vehicle had stopped and tried to get some kids to come get in the vehicle,” says Lieutenant Eddie Graybeal with WCSO.
Then within a week, the second incident occurred.
“We had another report that a dark colored SUV pulled up and a subject jumped out of the passenger side and tried to abduct a 13-year-old child,” says Lt. Graybeal.
“He was terrified,” says the boys mother Andora Barnett. “When he called me he was crying, he was out of breath, he was scared.”
According to Barnett after getting out of the car the man chased her son, who was checking the mailbox, into their yard.
“He grabbed him by the neck of his shirt, he had red marks on his neck from him grabbing him,” says Barnett.
Barnett is grateful her son was able to escape, “I’m just lucky my son fought back.”
She says the man took off into the woods.
WCSO says when those reports came in they searched the area and did not find the described suspects or vehicles.
Police say they are looking for an older white male with gray hair, potentially traveling around with another white male with darker hair. They want the public to be on the lookout for the black SUV and purple car.
Washington County police say they have increased patrol in the area, but parents need to stay alert.
“They just need to be watching their kids if they are out next to the road, and even without this situation, you should always be vigilant with your children when they are outside, especially small children. I wouldn’t leave them out near the roadways by themselves,” says Lt. Graybeal.
The parents are also trying to warn others.
“Keep your kids close. He’s out there somewhere,” says Malone Livingston.
Barnett says she’s scared of what might happen if these men strike again.
“They motioned for her kids to come to the car, they chased mine. It seems that it is getting worse. If there’s another one, he might get them,” says Barnett.
They also ask that any suspicious activity, especially involving these described vehicles, be reported to 9-1-1.