COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A boy was approached by an unknown person in a vehicle Wednesday morning on his way to the school bus stop near Dinsmore Castle Drive. It happened in a West Columbus neighborhood on the border of Hilliard. The student attends a Hilliard City School District school, but it is unknown which school.
According to Columbus police, the boy was approached at around 7 a.m. while walking to his school bus stop. The victim said a male stranger in a silver or gray sedan pulled up and said, “get in.”. The victim yelled, “no!” and ran to his bus stop. He then reported the incident to school staff.
The district sent the following letter to parents Wednesday:
While the student attends Hilliard City Schools, he is one of about 44% of their students who live in the Columbus Metro Police Department’s jurisdiction. Hilliard police received the initial call due to their close relationship with the schools. Hilliard PD then called Columbus police to conduct a report and investigation.
Columbus police said there weren’t any details that could be shared just yet, as the investigator is still in the process of opening that investigation.
Alicia, a parent in the Hilliard school district, said, “It is unnerving as a parent to know that there’s someone in a vehicle and not knowing what, where, how. I know we’re in a good school district, but that shouldn’t matter. Every neighborhood should feel safe regardless of what district you’re in. It’s an uneasy and discerning feeling as a parent.”
This is not the first such case of an attempted abduction near Hilliard this school year. A man was arrested for allegedly exposing himself to a girl walking to school in Hilliard in September 2022.
That same man, Joseph Ennemoser, was arrested following an attempted abduction in the Groveport Madison School District earlier this month. His bond was later set at $1.5 million.
This most recent kidnapping attempt is not so much a wake-up call for parents, but a startling case of deja vu.
In the previously mentioned cases, police released suspect or vehicle information fairly quickly. Parents in Hilliard City Schools were left without those details Wednesday.
“I don’t know anything about you know the vehicle. Make, model, nothing. That’s the more uncomfortable, uneasy feeling as a parent is just not knowing anything. Just that there was a student approached this morning by a vehicle,” Alicia said.
That parent said she has to explain situations like this to her kids, and often can be difficult for young children.
“Just always making sure that you have a buddy and that you’re not going anywhere alone. Even if it’s a well-known, safe area, just always have a buddy,” she said.
She also showed frustration with the school district for leaving out certain details from their message to parents.