EAST ST. LOUIS, Il. (KMOV) – Police are currently investigating an attempted abduction of an elementary school child who was walking to school in East St. Louis on Thursday morning.
Authorities say the child was walking to school in the 700 block of 81st Street when an adult reportedly grabbed him and pulled him under a porch before 8:30 a.m.. The child screamed and the suspect fled once a group of older children came to the scene.
A special law enforcement task force is searching for the man who tried to abduct a 10-year-old boy Thursday morning.
News 4's cameras were rolling as a team of East St. Louis police officers and U.S. Marshals moved out to search.
Police and the East St. Louis School District are taking this very seriously. The district sent a letter home with all elementary school students, offering counseling and urging parents to talk to their kids about this threat.
Parents and police are on high alert after an attempted abduction just three blocks from Dr. Katie Harper Wright Elementary School.
"It's very scary, really scary," Clara Johnson, the victim's guardian, said.
A 10-year-old boy tells me that he was walking to class Thursday morning when a stranger grabbed him from behind.
"He dragged me all the way under the porch, and then I was screaming and hollering because I can scream," the victim said.
His screams were answered by teenagers inside the house who came to his rescue and sent his attacker running.
"He ran from under the porch. He was looking dead at them and he ran," the victim said. "He let me go. I ran from him and I went out to [the teens] and into their house."
"Three boys brought him home," Johnson said. "I just broke down and started crying because I knew they could have killed him. I just thank God those boys got him out of there and ran him off."
The boy says his attacker is a black man, about 25 to 30 years old and was wearing all black. He has a medium build and very short dreadlocks under a baseball cap. Now police are searching for him. They're also checking area sex offenders and promise extra patrols again Friday morning.
"We're all going to be out there, including myself," East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore said. "We'll be driving by a lot of schools, canvassing the area, and there when they're picking kids up from school to try to be out there, be alert."
Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the East St. Louis Police Department at 618-482-6767 or Crimestoppers at 866-371-8477.
Counseling will be available at each school in the East St. Louis School District 189 for any child who is concerned about this situation.