Police: Man was trying to help, not abduct child

The man who tried to get a 4-year-old into his truck in a Greenwood neighborhood earlier this week was trying to keep the boy safe, police said.

What police were investigating as a possible attempted abduction, based on what two children experienced, turned out to be a Good Samaritan trying to protect a youngster.

Police have increased patrols and been looking for the man and vehicle involved in an incident Tuesday morning at an apartment complex at Main Street and Combs Road. On Thursday morning, an officer stopped a vehicle that matched the description.

The driver looked like a man two children said tried to get a 4-year-old boy to come to his truck. The man, who works nearby, told police he had tried to get the child into his truck because he was concerned when he saw the young boy by himself near Combs Road, according to a news release from the Greenwood Police Department.

The man, who is a father, said he wanted to get the child to safety so he could then find his parents, the release said.

Police say the man was a Good Samaritan, and the investigation of the incident is now complete.

The boy had run across the grass at Trotters Pointe Apartments while a mother was trying to get several other children ready for school. The boy’s 9-year-old sister went after him, and told her mother that a man had the little boy by the hand and was trying to get him to his truck.

The story is nearly identical to what the driver told police when they stopped him near the apartment complex on Thursday morning, Greenwood Assistant Chief Matt Fillenwarth said.

When the officer stopped the man, he asked if he had seen any children near the road, and the driver relayed nearly the same story of what happened on Tuesday, Fillenwarth said. The truck was a slightly different size than what the children had described and the man had a goatee, not a full beard, as the children had said, Fillenwarth said.

But the story was almost the same, and the man volunteered all the details, without police needing to ask many questions, Fillenwarth said.

“He said no one was around, and he is a parent, so he stopped and put his flashers on. He was very forthcoming,” Fillenwarth said.

Shortly after the man stopped and took the child’s hand, a little girl came, told him that was her brother and pulled him away. The man left, knowing the child was safe and away from the road and headed to work nearby, Fillenwarth said.

The man has no criminal history and told police he had not seen the news reports of the attempted abduction, the release said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.