Local News

Neighbors, students taken aback after man tries to abduct Raleigh middle school student

Posted September 29, 2021 2:31 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2021 11:04 p.m. EDT

— A man tried to grab a student walking to Martin Magnet Middle School, in Raleigh, on Wednesday morning.

An older man in a red pickup truck approached the student, who was walking on Ridge Road, and tried to grab the child, Principal Marla Mondora said in a message to parents.

"I’m relieved to report that the student escaped, ran to school for assistance and is safe with family now," Mondora wrote.

Raleigh police and Wake County deputies were called, and law enforcement will step up patrols around Martin Middle on Wednesday and Thursday, she said.

"It’s times like these that we are extra grateful and appreciative of all the support they provide us to ensure the safety of our students. They work closely with us to ensure the safety of our students every day," she wrote.

Martin Middle student Kate Fields said the incident taught her to be more aware of her surroundings while walking to and from school.

"[You need to] be alert and try to have someone with you and have a good way to run away," Fields said.

Neighbors described the area as a largely safe, quiet place to live. Ridge Road is the road that runs alongside the school.

"We had two children and they’re grown right now and they walked across the street to school everyday," said Mario Guglielmi, who has lived in the area for almost 50 years. "I think this is a really unusual occurrence for this area."

"It’s scary," said Fields. "It makes me think about if I should be walking to school, especially on that busy road, thinking there’s a lot of people around."

Mondora provided other tips that she wants parents to discuss with their children:

  • Don’t talk to or take anything from strangers.
  • Don’t go anywhere with someone you don’t know.
  • If you are approached by a stranger, seek help immediately.
  • If you are alone, run away from the situation.
  • Use the buddy system. Avoid walking anywhere alone.
  • If parents are able, walk with your child to school or partner with a trusted adult to walk your children to school.
  • When seeking help, always go to a trusted adult – teacher, coach, police officer, other parent or older siblings.
  • If a stranger grabs you, do everything you can to stop them from pulling you away. Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite and scream. Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others who can help you.
  • Report any suspicious activity to your school and police department.

"When children hear about traumatic incidents such as this, it is not unusual for them to feel anxious, sad, fearful, angry or vulnerable," Mondora wrote. "In times of uncertainty, adolescents will often share their emotions with peers on social media, so it’s important that you are aware of their messaging. Also, please talk with your child about healthy ways to deal with emotions."