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Tybee Police investigating report of suspicious males trying to lure 10-year-old child

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:40 PM EDT
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TYBEE, Ga. (WTOC) - The Tybee Island Police Department is investigating after a report of a suspicious individuals attempting to lure a 10-year-old child towards them.

According to the report, the child was walking near Memorial Park Wednesday afternoon when two males, who witnesses believe to be in their late teens, attempted to call the child over to them. When the child refused, one of the male individuals began to follow them until the child safely reached the park.

The males then circled the area before finally walking away.

“When he refused, he sped up and started walking toward the park. Those individuals began to follow behind him and continued to try to get his attention and tried to get the young man to walk over to them. Once he made it to the park safely, they circled the area before walking away,” Tybee Island Police Lt. Emory Randolph said.

Police say one suspect is described as having short brown hair and as wearing a light blue “polo-style” shirt while carrying a backpack.

Lt. Randolph said a situation like this is unusual for Tybee.

“We certainly can’t speculate as to motivation. That’s something we hope to determine as part of this investigation,” he said.

Lt. Randolph said police are reaching out to the community for information and checking surveillance cameras around the area.

Tybee Police are asking parents to take the opportunity to speak to their children about appropriate actions to take if they are approached by a stranger.

Eric Thomas says as a parent this situation is unnerving.

“My kids are running around this island all the time and we allow them some freedom to do things because we feel like we live in a safe place. Now it’s stolen that a little bit,” Thomas said.

Parent, Michelle Fleegel, said this incident does change the way she will talk to her kids moving forward about stranger danger.

“Most of the conversations I’ve had with my kids in the past have centered around safe adults and so it did kind of pivot the conversation to it’s not just adults who you have to worry about,” Fleegel said.

Thomas says it’s an eye opener.

“When I pick him up today, we’ll have that conversation about what to do if something like that happens. As parents we have to be aware,” Thomas said.

Lt. Randolph says there are a few things parents can remind their children to do.

“One thing they can do if they’re asked to come toward a stranger or come toward a vehicle is shout ‘no’ very loudly and begin to walk away. If they’re followed, they certainly want to go as quickly as possible to a trustworthy adult, tell them what’s going on and ask them to call the police,” he said.

Lt. Randolph said he realizes people in the community wish they had more information, but to remember what they’re working off is from a 10-year-old.

Anyone with information on this incident should call Detective Erica Coreno at 912.786.5600 or email him at ecoreno@cityoftybee.org.

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