National News

Spike in attempted child abductions startling St. Louis County parents

Posted November 7, 2017 12:17 p.m. EST

— "We've got to scare these people away," said Sarah Warren. "They need to know that they can't target kids and get away with it."

At least seven different attempted child abductions have occurred within a couple miles of Sarah Warren's Overland home in the last 40 days.

The mother of four told News 4 that in May, her 12-year-old son, Jeremiah, was walking their dog when a man pulled up in a car and offered the boy a ride.

"And he (Jeremiah) didn't even turn to look, he just ran straight home," said Warren. "It took awhile to sink in that this is my son that this almost happened to. You always think it's going to be somebody else."

That close call, combined with the recent cases, has caused Warren to re-think things.

"I'm not going to live in fear," said Warren. "My kids want to have some freedom, but at the same time, I've got to make sure they have a cell phone on them. When they're taking a walk, they wear a whistle. They know to run to the nearest house no matter where they are."

"This is highly unusual to have this many condensed in this time frame," said Overland Police Chief Mike Laws.

Chief Laws said the recent attempted abductions span across a cluster of cities in St. Louis County.

The incidents are being reported to Breckenridge Hills, Olivette, St. Ann and other areas as well.

"Our detectives are aware of it," said Chief Laws. "We'll reach out to these other departments and see if there's anything that ties these situations together."

Meanwhile, Warren is working to inform her neighbors, both online and in person. The mother has joined several neighborhood watch groups on Facebook in hopes of helping make others aware of what's going on.

"People have to watch out for everybody else," said Warren. "We need to get to know our neighbors."