Attempted kidnapping near a North Austin middle school

An attempted kidnapping near Burnet Middle School in North Austin has parents thinking twice about letting their kids walk home. It also has police stepping up security in the area.

Austin Police confirm the attempted kidnapping happened on Monday. They say a suspect is custody. They are't releasing his name or a photo, because it is an ongoing investigation. Austin Police also won't confirm if any other attempted kidnappings have been reported in the area.

A letter to Burnet Parents describes what a witness confirmed for FOX 7, that a High School girl was headed home along Renton Drive, South of Ohlen, when someone forced her into a car. Witnesses were able to get her out.

The would-be kidnapper took off. The witness wouldn't speak with Fox 7 on-camera but he says the man came back to the neighborhood a few hours later. That's when Austin Police arrested him.

"I give my hats off to the people that helped her because I mean had they not, this could have been worse," says Charmaine Henson.

She says her daughter was nearly kidnapped in December while she was walking home from Burnet after Sports practice. She says someone came to her daughter's rescue also. And she believes that kind of community involvement is key to keeping children safe.

"You don't have to go and knock on the door and say, 'hi, I'm your neighbor", but if you see someone in distress, help them that's what's important, you would want someone to do that for your child."

The Full letter from Burnet Principal David Dean is below in English and Spanish:

April 12, 2016

Dear Burnet Middle School Community,
The safety of all students is our top priority at Burnet Middle School. With that in mind,
I am writing to let you know about incident that occurred near campus yesterday as an
Austin ISD high school student was walking home from school.
A person approached the student and forced her into a vehicle. Witnesses intervened and assisted the student, who was unharmed. The suspect fled and witnesses immediately contacted the Austin Police Department and Austin ISD police.
Austin police officers located the suspect and arrested him a few hours later. To ensure student safety, both Austin and AISD police departments will maintain increased patrols in the area.
We are grateful our student is safe, and wanted to take this opportunity to remind families of safety tips to can discuss with your children to help ensure their safety:
• Encourage students to report any unusual occurrences to you. When they are visiting or playing with friends, make sure an adult knows where they are and have students carry a cell phone in case of an emergency, if age-appropriate.
• Establish a password known only to immediate family. Children should be told not to go with an unfamiliar person unless the person knows the password.
• If they are approached by strangers, students should take several steps backward, stay out of arm’s reach and run to a safe area. If they are confronted, they should be taught to scream. Many times children forget to scream.
• Identify the location of safe homes or buildings in case a student needs to run to them. Identify which neighbors are available to help when parents or guardians are not at home.
• Advise students to avoid alleys and empty lots, houses or garages. Students should use direct routes between school and home when walking or biking.
If you or your students see anything or anyone suspicious, please contact the AISD Police Department at (512) 414-1703.
We appreciate your support as we work together to ensure our students’ safety and security at and around Burnet Middle School. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly at 512-414-3225.

David Dean
Burnet Middle School

12 de abril de 2016
Estimada comunidad de la Escuela Secundaria Burnet:
La seguridad de todos nuestros estudiantes es la máxima prioridad de la Escuela Secundaria Burnet. Por eso, les escribo para comunicarles acerca de un incidente que ocurrió ayer cerca del plantel cuando una estudiante de preparatoria caminaba de la escuela a su casa.
Una persona se le acercó y la forzó a entrar en un vehículo. Los testigos que vieron esto intervinieron, la liberaron y resultó ilesa. El sospechoso huyó y los testigos se comunicaron de inmediato con el Departamento de Policía de Austin y la policía del AISD.
Los oficiales de la policía encontraron al sospechoso y lo arrestaron unas horas más tarde. Para garantizar la seguridad de los estudiantes, tanto los departamentos de la policía de Austin como los del AISD, incrementarán el patrullaje en el área.
Nos alegra que la estudiante esté a salvo, y queremos aprovechar esta oportunidad para recordarles algunos consejos  que pueden compartir con sus hijos para garantizar su seguridad:
• Anime a sus hijos a que le avisen si ven algo fuera de lo normal.Manténgase siempre informado sobre dónde se encuentran. Cuando visiten o estén con amigos asegúrese de que un adulto sepa dónde están sus hijos y que tengan consigo un teléfono celular para casos de emergencia, si es pertinente de acuerdo a la edad.    
• Deben tener una contraseña que solo la conozca la familia inmediata. Diga a sus hijos que no se vayan con una persona desconocida si no se sabe la contraseña. 
• Si se les acerca un desconocido, deben de dar varios pasos hacia atrás para quedar fuera de su alcance y correr a un lugar seguro. Debe de enseñarles a gritar en caso de ser confrontados. Muchas veces a los niños se les olvida gritar.
• Identificar un lugar donde haya casas o edificios seguros para que el estudiante pueda correr en caso de necesidad. Identificar cuáles vecinos están disponibles para ayudar cuando los padres no estén en casa.
• Aconsejar a su hijo que evite callejones, lotes, casas o cocheras vacíos. Los estudiantes deberán usar rutas directas cuando caminen o vayan en bicicleta de la escuela a su casa.

Si usted o sus hijos ven algo o a alguien sospechoso, favor de comunicarse con el Departamento de Policía del AISD, al 512-414-1703.

Agradecemos su apoyo en la medida en que trabajamos juntos para garantizar la seguridad y protección de nuestros estudiantes en la Escuela Secundaria Burnet y sus alrededores. Si tiene preguntas o inquietudes, favor de comunicarse directamente conmigo al 512-414-3225.

David Dean




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