Man Attempts to Kidnap 13-Year-Old

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, February 28 2012 at 6:36 PM, Updated: Tue, February 28 2012 at 10:06 PM

People living in the Murphy area are tonight on edge.

"It makes me scared for my grandson," said Bernadette Box who changed her work schedule to make sure her grandson gets home safe from school.

Another area resident, 13-year-old Tiffany Aslakson said she's doing things a little differently now. "It makes you think what could happen, keep phone in hand, charged."

"We just have to be very vigiliant and watch everyone," said Murphy area resident Margaret Reyes.

Attempted Kidnapping Near School

The heightened awareness coming after police say a man tried to kidnap a 13-year-old girl in Grants Pass on New Hope Road near Lincoln Savage Middle School.

Officials said around 3:50pm on Monday, the 13-year-old girl was riding her bike south on New Hope Road. That's when a man in a pick-up truck pulled her in. Tonight, the young girl is safe.

"She jumped from the vehicle after less than a mile of driving," said Erin Maue of the Josephine County Sheriff's Office.

After jumping from the truck, she ran roughly 3 miles to a friend's house to call police.

Who Authorities Are Looking For

"We're looking for a white male in his mid-40s with brown, shoulder length curly hair, facial hair, a scar on the neck and last seen wearing a black shirt and gray sweatpants," said Maue.

Officials say he is about 6-feet tall, has a larger build, and may also have a thin goatee.

Description of the Suspect's Vehicle

As for the older Ford pick-up truck authorities believe he was driving?

"Painted with a primer or a flat black paint," Maue said.

The sheriff's office also believes the truck has red leather seats with an 18-inch gray spot on the driver side door.

When NBC 5 spoke with a gas attendant who works on New Hope Road, he said the vehicle description did not sound familiar.

"It doesn't sound like someone who's from this neighborhood," said Dan Newman.

Officials Asking for Help to ID Suspect

Right now, detectives continue to investigate the kidnapping and want help from the community to track down the suspect.

If you have any information, call the Josephine County Sheriff's Office at 541-474-5153, extension 3552.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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