WHITEHALL, Ohio (WCMH) — Police in Whitehall say a 12-year-old girl managed to escape from someone who tried to grab her Monday morning.
It happened around 7:50 a.m. in the rear of a lot of a large apartment complex at 510 South Hamilton Road.
According to police, the 12-year-old girl was walking to school when she cut through the lot. She said an adult was following her and trying to engage her in conversation.
She told police the man tried to grab her by the backpack once he was close enough. She said she freed herself by dropping the backpack, then ran for help.
Police said she escaped unharmed back to her home.
Police described the suspect as a Hispanic male in his 30s, standing around 5’10”. He had a thin build and was clean shaven. Police said he was wearing a black coat with a hood pulled up over his head and khaki-colored work pants.
He may have been carrying a purple drawstring bag taken from the victim. The drawstrings on the bag are purple and white in a candy cane pattern.
“This is a good opportunity for parents to sit down with their children and go over safety protocols when walking alone or to school”, stated Dep. Chief Dan Kelso, “Parents should remind children to never walk alone when possible and stay in groups or pairs, stick to the main routes in public view, and never take short cuts that take them out of the public eye. Additionally, reiterate they should never talk to strangers or approach unknown occupied vehicles. If they feel threatened or in danger they should yell and scream for help as loud as they can and run away immediately, just like this girl did.”
Anyone with additional information is asked the call the Whitehall Police Department, 614-237-6333.