Stranger Danger puts East Valley Middle on High Alert - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Stranger Danger puts East Valley Middle on High Alert

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One student in East Helena is lucky to be safe at home after a stranger tried to force the young girl into a car. Now the school district is on high alert. We spoke with officials to see how they're keeping the rest of the student body secured

With just a few blocks separating school from her home, one unsuspecting student thought she was safe to walk on her own after classes let out, but that wasn't the case on Thursday.

"From the way she described it. We feel like the woman was trying to abduct her. The girl got scared obviously and ran away as quickly as she could obviously to her house, which wasn't too far away," said Dan Rispens, Principal of East Valley Middle School.

A woman driving a brown s-u-v pulled up right beside the 11-year-old and yelled at her to get in the car. The student didn't get an exact description, but said the stranger got so close she could smell the stench of cigarettes on her.

"The important part here is that the young person said no. Often times it is so easy to entice a young person, boy or girl, into getting in a vehicle by offering something that is too good to be true," said Leo Dutton, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff.

Police patrolled the area for about an hour and half after the incident, but have yet to find the potential kidnapper. In the meantime, school officials in East Helena are warning their kids to be on the lookout.

"Could
ve been a human trafficking type of situation. I think that's a really misunderstood phenomenon in our society right now that a lot of us still don't have our brains wrapped around until it happens in your town, said Rispens.

East Valley Middle is now providing an extra school bus for kids who no longer feel comfortable walking on their own, because this shows crime and even kidnappings can happen in anywhere.

"Often times when you're a small community you think well we know everybody, it
s not going to happen here. Sometimes those are the easiest targets because you can go in, scoop a child and be gone," said Dutton.   

Nearby Highway 12 can be a corridor for drugs, human trafficking and other illegal behavior, according to law enforcement. School officials are always on their toes with this in mind, but will be on high alert until the case is solved.

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