Child luring attempt in Aurora: No connection to Jessica Ridgeway case?

Since the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Ridgeway, a ten-year-old Westminster girl, the number of reports about metro-area abduction attempts has risen sharply.

The latest is info out of Aurora -- and while police don't believe it's connected to the Ridgeway case (unlike a May jogger attack), the details remain disturbing.

At around 8:30 a.m. yesterday morning, according to the Aurora Police Department, an eight-year-old girl was waiting at a bus stop near the intersection of East Louisiana Avenue and South Idalia Street when a two-door green vehicle resembling a Jeep pulled up. Inside was a driver described as a forty-ish black male wearing a green baseball cap and a black shirt, as well as a white male passenger.

The APD says the driver told the girl to get into the car. Instead, she ran to friends walking toward the bus stop, prompting the vehicle to depart in a northbound direction. Upon her arrival at school, the girl reported what happened and the police were called.

Cops canvassed the area, and while no one they quizzed saw what happened, one neighbor said she'd noticed a green Chevy Blazer in the vicinity of the bus stop over the past few weeks, driven by someone who seemed to be watching the kids gathered there. The description: a white male in the 35-40 range, with brown hair and a height of between five-eight and six-feet. The witness recalled seeing him both clean-shaven and wearing a beard.

The APD's Crimes Against Children unit is currently investigating the case; anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to phone Sergeant Joe Young at 303-739-6093. Sergeant Cassidee Carlson, a department spokesperson, also notes that Aurora has a specific child-luring ordinance. It reads as follows:

Sec. 94-43 Luring of a child. A person commits the violation of luring of a child if the person invites or persuades, or attempts to invite or persuade a child under the age of 15 years of age to enter any vehicle without lawful justification. It is not necessary, for prosecution for attempt under this section, that the child have perceived the defendant's act of luring.
Look below to see an interactive graphic of the area near where the reported abduction attempt took place; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map." That's followed by an advisory sheet for parents assembled by the Aurora Police Department.

View Larger Map

APD Advisory for Parents

Tips on keeping your children safe.

The Aurora Police Department wants to remind parents and guardians of a few things for keeping their children safe.

• You are the best resource to educate your child on safety and you need to talk openly with your children to educate them.

• Teach them that EVERYONE who is not a family member, teacher, police officer, firefighter or friend, is a stranger.

• Teach them never to take anything from a stranger, to include candy, toys, rides, pets, etc.

• Give your kids the knowledge to know what to do if someone tries to abduct them -- yell "this person is not my mother or father," make a scene, fight back.

• Tell your child to immediately tell a trusted adult if a stranger tried to talk to you or made you feel uncomfortable.

• Teach your kids to not wander off if they are with you or with friends.

One of the most valuable resources available reference child safety is The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC -- NCMEC is an excellent resource where you can find comprehensive guidelines and tips on how to keep your children safe and what to do if your child is abducted.

Below is a link that provides guidance on several different activities that your child may be involved in, to include walking to and from school, traveling unaccompanied on a bus, Halloween safety, etc. Parents are encouraged to review this material and talk to your kids about how to stay safe.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Jessica Ridgeway case: Link to earlier Ketner Lake assault attempt confirmed."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts