Suspect still sought in kidnap try
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Detectives are still looking for a suspect in the attempted kidnapping of a child from El Verano Elementary School.
As of Monday, detectives still hadn’t arrested a suspect, said Lt. Dennis O’Leary with the Sheriff’s Investigations Bureau. “We’re actively investigating the matter,” O’Leary said.
According to a notice released to parents at all Valley elementary schools, on Monday, Jan. 30, a female El Verano student was contacted by a man who approached her on school grounds and tried to lure her away by asking if she needed a ride home. When the child refused, the suspect grabbed her by the arm, but she was able to escape by running away. The girl’s parents did not report the incident to school officials until Thursday, Feb. 2.
According to a Friday press release from Sgt. Cecile Focha, of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit, detectives believe the same suspect has attempted to lure students twice before – once at Sassarini Elementary School and a second attempt at El Verano – over the past several months, including an incident that occurred during the week of Jan. 16 at Sassarini. In each of those cases the suspect only asked the girls if they wanted a ride home. When the girls refused, the suspect simply turned and walked away.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, about 30-years-old, approximately 5-foot-8-inches to 6-feet tall with an average-to-thin build. The suspect is
clean-shaven or might have a light mustache, and has medium-to-dark complexion.
The man spoke fluent Spanish, and spoke English with a heavy accent.
He was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt over his head, jeans and athletic shoes. He also wore a neck chain with a dollar sign pendant and a diamond stud earring. He is associated with a red compact passenger car, similar to a Ford Focus.
Deputies from the Valley substation are working with the Sonoma Police Department and the Sonoma Valley Unified School District in an effort to locate and identify the suspect.
The parents of children attending schools in the area have been alerted. Any person with information about this incident or suspect is encouraged to contact the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Bureau at 565-2185, the Valley sub-station at 996-9495, or the Sonoma Police Department at 996-3602.