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Jan 28, 2015

Kidnapping Attempts Cause Panic in OW

There is growing concern tonight over the safety of primary school students. In the past few days, there have been reports of alleged attempts at kidnapping in Belmopan and Corozal. But in Orange Walk Town, two students came under serious threat and the school is taking every precaution to avert any reoccurrence. The incidents are isolated and happened on separate days earlier this week, but in both cases a parked car was seen lying in wait.  Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Tonight, two students from Orange Walk remain traumatized after one was being lured into a vehicle by a masked man and an attempt was made to kidnap another. In the two separate incidents, earlier this week, the young girls, ages ten and eleven, were walking back to La Inmaculada R.C School shortly after twelve-thirty when the incidents happened.

 

Manuel Polanco

Manuel Polanco, Principal, La Inmaculada R.C School

“We have been able to confirm that on Monday a child from our school was being lured to get into a vehicle. In fact, the report that we have received was that the child was threatened. The driver told the child to get in the vehicle or she will be killed. Yesterday, we had another incident where the girl was actually being pulled into the vehicle. Somebody from the vehicle grabbed her by her hair and was pulling her in the vehicle.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So the vehicle, have you been able to confirm if it’s the same vehicle?”

 

Manuel Polanco

“No from our reports, it would appear that Monday’s incident involved a white car; let me correct that, a car. Yesterday’s one was a white van.”

 

The attempt to lure and abduct the girls happened in relatively busy areas, so was this man acting with a partner?

 

Manuel Polanco

“We cannot ascertain. We have just been told there was one person in both incidents because the vehicles were tinted.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Principal, where did this happen? Did it happen near the school?”

 

Manuel Polanco

“The first incident on Monday took place by the Police Station by the Banquitas House of Culture, which is relatively close to school. The second incident took place right by the traffic lights in front of the school by Scotia Bank.”

 

Polanco says that the administration is concerned and so far steps have been taken to encourage students and parents to be alert.

 

Manuel Polanco

“To begin with, we have started a campaign with our children sensitizing them about the urgency of this and the danger there is about entertaining strangers out there and what’s not.  Also, we informed our parents to be on the lookout and to also report anything that is suspicious. But definitely, security wise we will step and we will see how we can do more.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you, maybe, fear that this person or these persons will return and make an attempt?”

 

Manuel Polanco

“Yeah and that is why we have decided to come and use the media as part of sensitizing the community, not to alarm anyone, but to encourage our parents to talk to our children about entertaining strangers and our children accepting little tokens like candies. Also, to tell our kids to walk in groups and not alone; also, tell our parents to be on time to pick up their children.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What’s the feeling like with the parents, are they panicked or more fearful at this time?”

 

Manuel Polanco

“Well, I think they are more concerned. They are concerned.”

 

While parents are concerned for the children’s safety, La Inmaculada is looking into offering emotional support to the two young girls. Polanco said that police have visited the school, but according to the Orange Walk Police no formal report has been made. Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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1 Response for “Kidnapping Attempts Cause Panic in OW”

  1. kmheusner says:

    This is a very good response from the school. They also need to encourage children to walk home in groups and for parents in the area to designate safe houses kids can run to where an adult can call the police immediately if something happens. But houses where they know the people obviously. A lot of children walk to and from school alone, but if they walk together the chances of being approached go down drastically. But good to see this school so responsive and proactive.

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