VISTA, Calif. — Authorities released a sketch Friday of the man suspected of attempting to kidnap a 13-year-old student in North County.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Vista Station received the report from the student Tuesday around 6:30 p.m. The 13-year-old Roosevelt Middle School student told deputies she was on her way to a bus stop Monday around 8:30 a.m. near the intersection of West Los Angeles Drive and Georgia Lane in Vista, when a white van with no license plates passed her and then made a U-turn. According to the student, she said a man got out of the vehicle and told her in Spanish to get into the van, grabbing the girl by her backpack and shoulder.
She told sheriff’s officials that she was able to escape by hitting the man with her elbow and running to the bus stop while the van drove away. The teenager explained that she did not tell her parents about the incident until the next day because she was upset and wasn’t sure how to handle the situation.
The student described the man allegedly involved in the crime as a Hispanic man with a thin-build and spiky brown hair. She said he was last seen wearing a black sweatshirt, black jeans, black scarf or mask and black sunglasses. The student was unable to provide a description of the van driver, according to authorities.
Sheriff’s detectives are continuing their investigation. If you recognize the man in the sketch or have any information about this incident, call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
Here are a few safety reminders from the sheriff’s department:
- Use the buddy system and avoid walking alone.
- Parents should plan, map out and practice safe routes with children before they head out on their own.
- Teach your children not to talk to strangers.
- Remind children to stay off cell phones. They should be able to hear their surroundings when walking to school or a bus stop.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel you are being followed or something is not right, seek help immediately.
- If a stranger grabs you, drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite or scream. Do whatever it takes to grab the attention of others who can help you.
- Go to a trusted adult, a teacher, coach, parent, older sibling or law enforcement for help and report the incident immediately.