Father: Man tried to abduct son while he was waiting at school

Father: Man tried to abduct son while he was waiting at private school

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By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A little over a week after officers said a man tried to abduct a six-year-old boy at a private Knox County school, his father is speaking out about what happened.

The man, who 6 News agreed not to identify, says his son was almost snatched in broad daylight right in front of teachers and other students at Grace Christian Academy.

"It was told to me that he had a neon green sign with my child's name on it," he said.

The father of two wanted other parents to know that a stranger tried to pick up his son while he was just a few feet away.

"I was going through the car line about 2:45 and saw my child's kindergarten teacher," he said.

"She looked at me sort of curiously and said my child had already been picked up from school. I was immediately sort of nervous in my stomach and looked at her and said, no he hasn't."

He credits that teacher with taking quick action, getting on her walkie talkie and making sure his son didn't get into a red pickup truck displaying a car sign with the boy's name.

"She said, yes, that she saw a car sign in a two-seater, little red truck pickup truck with his name on it and her name on it from last year," the father said.

He adds that he's grateful adults noticed the man, who took off, but he's uneasy the man has not been caught.

"I thought about if that had happened, how I would feel that night when it was time to go to bed knowing that somebody had my child on this globe somewhere doing God knows what," he said.

"That just immediately enraged me and also made me scared," he admitted.

The father isn't sure how anyone got his son's name and school, but now he keeps his car sign hidden from public view.

He has talked with his children about never getting in a vehicle with anyone but family.

The FBI has also been contacted in this case. Agents say girls are more likely to become victims than boys, and most abductions occur during day light hours, typically between the hours of 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.

But this case even seems atypical to the FBI.

"Unusual, yes, the fact that this guy would sit in line potentially physically trapped by other vehicles in front of a school, while preparing or planning to commit that kind of an act, that's not your normal predator or abductor that would go to that length. So that does represent a higher level of dangerousness," said FBI Special Supervisory Agent Michael Maclean.

Less than a week after the attempt at Grace Christian Academy, a middle school boy from Christian Academy of Knoxville reported that a man tried to pick him up after football practice.   

Investigators don't believe the two incidents are connected.

The suspect is described as a man appearing to be in his 60s with clean-cut gray hair. He was last seen driving a small, red, two-seater pickup truck.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information to call detectives at 865-215-3742.

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