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Attempted child abduction posted on Facebook was not reported to law enforcement

Sheriff's Office reminds residents to let them know about suspicious activity so officers can investigate it as soon as possible.

Police General

BOTTINEAU, N.D. — Someone on social media is claiming a couple tried to abduct a child at a park in north-central North Dakota, but they didn't let law enforcement know about it, officers said.

According to the Bottineau County Sheriff’s Office , someone took to Facebook Saturday, May 18, to accuse a man and woman in a silver car of trying to lure a child toward their trunk that day at Tommy Turtle Park in Bottineau. The couple supposedly told the child they had something for the kid, but a parent was nearby during the supposed incident., the agency said in its own Facebook post .

The couple left the scene quickly when they noticed the adult, officials said.

The incident was not reported to the Sheriff’s Office, but deputies were made aware of it, according to law enforcement. Officers responded to the park at 1:13 p.m. Saturday, which was after the incident, Chief Deputy Matt Schimetz said.

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“When deputies got there, there was literally no one at the park,” he said.

The agency has yet to speak to the person who posted the claims about the attempted abduction since the individual is from a different county and has not contacted the Sheriff’s Office, Schimetz said. Deputies have little information on what happened — it’s unknown what type of vehicle the couple was supposedly driving.

The individual who posted about the claim was not identified by law enforcement.

When asked if there is any reason to believe the incident didn’t happen, Schimetz said it is better to err on the side of caution.

“It is a possibility this could be something entirely innocent too,” he said.

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Schimetz said he doesn’t have a problem with people posting things on Facebook, but not without letting officers know about the incident. He said he couldn't recall the last time someone posted suspicious activity on social media and his office wasn't made aware of it until it saw the post.
It is important to report incidents to law enforcement agencies as soon as possible so officers can investigate incidents as soon as possible, he said.

“The appropriate response is to report it to law enforcement rather than post it on Facebook,” he said.

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Anyone with information on the incident should call 701-228-2740, the Sheriff’s Office said.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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