Town on edge following 2 incidents of children targeted by strangers - KMOV.com

Town on edge following 2 incidents of children targeted by strangers

NEW HAVEN, Missouri (KMOV) -- Authorities are looking for several suspects in two frightening incidents in Franklin County.  Deputies believe one was an attempted abduction and the other a threat to teenage girls.

While both cases happened in New Haven, Missouri Monday night, authorities aren't sure they are connected.  The suspects' car descriptions are quite different.

A 14-year-old boy was riding his bike home from a relative's house in New Haven.  It was 11 p.m.,- dark ride along the narrow Highway 100 - so when a driver stopped to offer him a lift, he took it.

"He put his bike in the back of the truck, and as he started to get in he said he noticed the dome light was off and said the guy was pretty big and that kind of scared him," Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said.  "He got a little concerned and changed his mind.  He said as he was getting out of the truck, he said the driver grabbed him by the shirt."

The teen broke free, quickly grabbed his bike and rode away.  The sheriff says the teen knocked on neighbors' doors until one woman answered.

"The lady said that he was pretty well shaken, and when the deputy interviewed him he said he was pretty shaken up too," Sheriff Toelke said.  "In these situations it's better to be safe than sorry."

The suspect is a tall, white man with a big build and deep voice, driving a maroon, late 90s Ford F-150 or F-250.

After hearing about the attempted abduction, three teenage girls in New Haven came forward with another frightening story.  They say, that same night, two men in an old, red Jeep pick-up truck followed them, then blocked their path along McNair Road.  They ran to the Bailey's house for help.

"Two incidents on the same day, you know, it's not the kind of news you want to hear," Nathan Bailey said.

It's certainly enough to put this town on edge.  Nathan Bailey was Ben Ownby's grade school principal.  The Franklin County boy, who along with Shawn Hornbeck, was found with his kidnapper.

"That's why we try not to take these lightly," Sheriff Toelke said.

Call police if you spot either vehicle.

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