Law enforcement investigates report of child endangerment
By Jan Rahn
The Perkins County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating an incident from last week that set into motion comments on computer Facebook sites that were speculation, rumors, untruths and hearsay.
According to the sheriff’s office, an incident allegedly occurred in the 400 block of Mitchem Avenue on May 31 at 9:34 p.m. while children were playing hide-and-seek in the area.
Sheriff Jim Brueggeman said it was reported that an 11-year-old girl who was staying with a friend in that area was allegedly approached by the driver of a newer model white pickup who parked a block west of 4th and Mitchem and walked back to ask the girl if she needed a ride.
Brueggeman said the driver was described as a 5-foot-4 or slightly taller skinny male dressed in a brown hoody wearing brown leather gloves.
When other children playing the game hollered at the girl, the driver returned to his vehicle and left. The incident was reported to the sheriff’s office by the adults with whom the girl from Grant was staying.
The driver did not cross the street to the side where she was, said Brueggeman.
He said there were no eyewitnesses to the account despite other kids in the area. Sheriff’s department personnel have talked to people in the neighborhood and are still following up.
Brueggeman said law enforcement does not want to discredit the girl’s statements, however, there are some inconsistencies in what they have been told.
Following the report, patrol was increased, with extra coverage all over town, and in particular, in the area of Grant where the alleged incident took place May 31.
There is no substantiated truth to the Facebook posting or rumors that the suspect appeared in the park the next day, said Brueggeman.
Sheriff Brueggeman said residents should not hesitate to contact law enforcement if they witness anything suspicious.
“We want to be alerted about suspicious people and suspicious vehicles so deputies can go check to see if there is anything to be concerned about,” said Brueggeman. “That’s why we’re here, but if they don’t tell us about it, we won’t know.”
Brueggeman also said parents should be attentive and know the whereabouts of their children, who should not be unattended that late at night.