Painted Rock Elementary students report attempted abduction

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) - Two boys say they were approached by three men in a van who tried to abduct them in Poway Thursday night.

Painted Rock principal Denise Davis sent a letter Friday to parents with children who attend Painted Rock Elementary School alerting them of the incident.

Two students, 12- and 9-years-old, said they were approached Thursday just after 6 p.m. by three men in a white van while they were walking to a friend's house in the 16400 block of Martincoit Road, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department (SDSO).

The two boys said the man in the passenger seat, wearing a black ski mask, reached out of the van to grab at the 12-year-old and yelled "get in the car," SDSO said.

The boy was able to get away and the van sped off southbound on Martincoit Rd., according to SDSO.

The boys were not injured. No one is in custody and there were no witnesses, SDSO said.

"As a parent myself, I know this information can be distressing, but we want to assure you that we have asked the Sheriff’s Department to step up patrols of the area to safeguard our students. We also have our counselor available on site for any students or parents needing extra support," Davis said.

SDSO described the man in the ski mask a possibly a white male, having muscular hairy arms. The van was described as an older model, dirty, white van with a noticeable dent over the rear passenger tire well of the vehicle.

The boys said there were a total of three men in the van but could not provide any further description, SDSO said.

Parents were asked to talk with their kids about safely walking to and from school and in their neighborhoods and Davis suggested children:

  • Walk with others,
  • Stay in view of the street (do not go into hidden areas like bushes),
  • Be alert (wearing headphones can reduce awareness),
  • If a passing vehicle stops do not get too close, and
  • If a suspicious stranger approaches you, get away and tell an adult immediately.

The incident reportedly occurred the same day as another North County kidnapping report.

In that incident, Escondido Police said 28-year-old Edgar Gutierrez Gutierrez is accused of trying to kidnap a 15-year-old Orange Glen High School student while she was walking to school Thursday morning.

Gutierrez was later arrested Thursday night with the help of the U.S. Marshal’s San Diego Fugitive Task Force.

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