SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah, March 25, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Saratoga Springs Police Department has determined that an incident one week ago in which an 8-year-old boy was allegedly asked to get into a stranger’s vehicle was actually a misunderstanding.
Saratoga Springs City spokesman David Johnson told Gephardt Daily at the time the child told investigators he was walking home from school in the Fox Hollow neighborhood when a white vehicle pulled over and one of the three occupants told him to get inside. The boy said no and the vehicle reportedly drove off, officials said.
The boy then went home and told his mother that someone tried to kidnap him.
Johnson said that officials did not call the incident an alleged abduction as no force was involved.
A news release issued Monday said the child described the occupants as one elderly man and two elderly women, but he said the vehicle had tinted windows so he could not describe them further.
“Through the investigative process, detectives spoke to individuals in the area to determine that the vehicle was a white pickup truck with a shell,” the news release said.
“Through further investigation, detectives spoke to a sales associate in a nearby model home to see if anyone came into the model home who met this description.” The sales associate confirmed the individuals and provided detectives with their contact information.
“Through good police work and the help of the community, our detectives were able to determine the exact vehicle and locate the suspects in question,” said city spokesman David Johnson, in a prepared statement.
The suspects were confirmed as a man in his 80s and his elderly two sisters.
“Each fully cooperated with police, confirmed that the white vehicle was theirs and that they approached the child,” the news release said. “Detectives confirmed with the suspects and the sales associate from the model home that the man just purchased a home in the area.”
The suspects each told detectives that they were attempting to drive to the man’s newly purchased home when they got lost.
Each of the suspects confirmed that they approached the child to see if he knew the name of the street they were looking for. The suspects told detectives that they did not tell the child to get into the vehicle, but confirmed that the child immediately appeared uneasy and left the scene. The suspects also confirmed with detectives that they turned around and stopped several times in the area to figure out the location of the man’s new home.
“The suspects acknowledged to detectives that they should not have approached the child and realized after he responded to them with great uneasiness,” Johnson added. “Until our detectives contacted the suspects, they were unaware of the concern the situation had caused and they feel genuinely remorseful about the incident.
“We would like to remind individuals to never approach children. We would also like to remind parents to teach children to not speak to or go with strangers, have children walk in groups and know your child’s route to and from home.”
Police contacted the Utah County Prosecutors Office to screen the department’s conclusions before determining if any charges will be filed. The incident remains under active investigation until county officials’ screening is complete.
The report comes after two 12-year-old boys in Moab reported an alleged abduction on March 12, and a junior high school age girl in Bountiful reported an alleged abduction on March 4. Both the boys and the girl said the incidents occurred when they were on their way home from school. Both reports turned out to be fabricated.
Johnson said after the incident on March 18 that officials had no reason not to believe the child, were taking the incident seriously, and would fully investigate.