OCEOLA TWP. (WWJ) – A possible abduction attempt has parents near Howell worried.
The incident happened around 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Hidden Creek Subdivision near M-59 and Latson in Oceola Township.
A 12-year-old girl told police she was exiting the school bus when an African-American woman in a white Dodge minivan tried to lure her over to the vehicle. The girl ran home and told her mother, who called 911 to report the incident.
“We’re calling this a suspicious incident because we really have no idea what the intent was of the person in the van,” Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy told WWJ’s Tom Jordan.
Murphy said the van stayed in the neighborhood for about 10 minutes before leaving the area.
“Not normal behavior, of course,” he said, adding that no other children were approached.
One parent said a deputy told them that children are at risk because human trafficking is becoming an issue in Livingston County.
“Listen, we live in a world today where we’ve got to be vigilant, where we’ve got to be aware of our surroundings and just simply pay attention,” said Murphy. “So when something like this happens, it’s always a great reminder to be just that, to be extra careful.”
Murphy said he would like to see neighborhoods embrace the community togetherness from yesteryear.
“One of the adults should go to the bus stop when the kids are getting on and off or at least be watching from a window,” he said. “Maybe Frank keeps an eye on the bus stop Mondays and Susie does it Tuesdays and Wendy does it on Wednesday. We’ve got to watch out for each other here and you know your community better than anybody, you know your neighbors. Let’s just start watching out for each other.”
An investigation is ongoing.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Livingston County Detective Bureau at 517-540-7959.