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Suspect In Chapel Hill School Attempted Abduction Banned From Campus

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A man accused of trying to kidnap a girl from a Chapel Hill elementary school has been ordered to stay away from the campus.

Derek Marshall Jones, 23, appeared in court Monday through a video hookup from the Orange County jail.

A judge set Jones' bond at $100,000 and ordered him not to go on any property owned by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district.

An anonymous tip led to his arrest on Friday. Police believe Jones is responsible for the attempted abduction of a fifth grader at Frank Porter Graham School on May 8.

Jones, who is employed at the Carolina Inn, was charged with assault on a minor and kidnapping and was placed in the Orange County Jail.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Gregg Jarvies said the information authorities received from the public was instrumental in leading investigators to an arrest.

"We got a lot of calls, lot of tips to the police department and to Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crimestoppers. By following one of those we were able to locate the suspect," said Jane Cousins of the Chapel Hill Police Department.

Police said Jones lives in an apartment complex just across the woods from the school.

Dwayne Mitchell said he actually saw Jones on the day of the attempted abduction.

"He was pacing back and forth by the trash cans, the dumpsters, and I didn't think anything of it," he said. "He just kept running back and forth and then the last time he went through the path. He fell and I asked him if he was OK. He looked up at me and got up and said 'Yeah, everything's fine.'"

Parents have been concerned about a pathway that leads from the apartments to the campus. They want a fence put up. School administrators are looking into it.

Jones' criminal record lists only minor offenses. Police have not released a motive for the attempted abduction.

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