Oak Park police responded to a false report of an attempted child abduction May 11 after a Longfellow Elementary School student claimed to have escaped kidnappers while walking home from school. The claim was later found unsubstantiated.
“No child abduction occurred,” said Commander William Rygh.
Rygh told Wednesday Journal that officers received the report at 3:20 p.m. and immediately began investigating, canvassing the area before determining that no such incident had occurred.
“Officers treated it is as a child abduction until investigative efforts determined that it was not,” said Rygh.
In a letter sent to Longfellow parents and guardians, Principal Amy Jefferson wrote that the student reportedly told police that “they were abducted on their walk home from school” on the afternoon of May 11 but “escaped unharmed.” The letter, obtained by Wednesday Journal, was sent the same day of the reported abduction.
Jefferson wrote there was “no danger posed to students after school” but that information about the incident quickly spread on social media “which caused a great deal of concern in our community.”
Longfellow School is at 715 Highland.
In an email to Wednesday Journal, District 97 Communications Director Amanda Siegfried said parents saw details about the alleged abduction on Facebook and Twitter through the @OakParkScanners account.
Siegfried also stated the district has no further comment or additional information.
“This was a fairly contained incident,” Siegfried wrote. “We were trying to be proactive in sharing information with our community since it was on social media.”
In Jefferson’s letter, the principal emphasized that the district works closely with the Oak Park Police Department during such situations to get the information out to families as quickly as possible.
“While we appreciate the community’s efforts to share information, it is also important to remember that official sources – in this case, the police department and the district – will provide the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding incidents of this nature,” Jefferson wrote.