Teen girl escapes alleged abduction attempt near school

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PHOENIX – A 14-year-old is girl is safe after fighting off a man who tried to grab her while she was walking to school Friday morning.

It happened just before 8 a.m. near 34th Avenue and Willetta.

Ray Ysleba lives in the area and says he sees all the kids walk every morning to school but this morning he saw something different.

“I see this white pick-up truck drive by here and I’ve never seen him around before,” says Ysleba.

Then came the police. “He told me there was a possible kidnapping and asked if I had seen anything. I said I’d seen a white pick-up truck,” says Ysleba.

Police say a Hispanic man, possibly in his 30s, seen driving an older model white Ford pick-up, attacked and tried at abduct a 14-year-old girl on her way to Isaac Middle School.

He grabbed her and tried to force her into the truck,” says Sgt. Tommy Thompson. “She scratched him and fought back. She became a wildcat and this guy decided this is not my victim today.”

The 14-year-old ran two blocks to school where the principal came to her aide.

“She was visibly upset as a normal 14-year-old would be,” says Principal Armando Chavez. “I said take a deep breath. Let's have some water and she was a trooper. We were able to get info to the police very quickly.”

Police say the girl showed signs of a physical struggle but otherwise was okay.

Officers immediately started canvassing the neighborhood and speaking with all sorts of people.

Moments later, police got another report of a Hispanic man in a white pick-up truck exposing himself to people about a half a mile away at 38th Avenue and Portland.

“We don't know if the two are related or not. There are similarities,” says Thompson. “It's close enough in area…we're looking at it and not ruling anything out at this point.”

The Isaac School District sent a letter home with students making them aware of the situation while many parents already aware are already thinking about how they will handle this news with their children.

“Tonight, obviously we go over the whole thing again and do some role playing in case this thing happens again,” says concerned parent Alex Alonzo. “That way they know what to do and they're prepared.”

In the meantime Phoenix police are asking parents to make sure their kids walk in pairs.

“We just had the situation in South Phoenix with the serial rapist and there are some commonalities,” says Thompson. “Those victims were also targeted as they were alone.”

Police are not sure if the two occurrences are related.

While the school was not on lockdown, there was a visible police presence there and in the surrounding neighborhood throughout the day.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have information concerning this incident or knows the suspect or suspects to call the Phoenix Police Department Violent Crimes Bureau at 602-262-6141 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.