Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Update: Turtle Park Witness Search Canceled, Toddler Incident Explained

Here's a follow-up on the incident at Turtle Park (see story below) from MPD Lt. Alan E. Hill.

On today's date [August 16], Captain Lewis Douglas of the Metropolitan Police Department's Youth Investigation Division conducted a follow-up investigation into this matter. He reports that he visited the site and spoke to the Camp Director. She explained the event as reported by her staff and that they witnessed the incident themselves. The staff member witnessed the child wandering and a male baseball club member picked up the child and the mother ran over to him and took her child back. The staff member explained to the mother that the man worked on the site and was helping the child, thinking he belonged to the baseball camp. The camp director related that she explained this to the mother herself and to other parents who came to her about the incident.
Our investigation has concluded that this was not an attempted child abduction.

The Metropolitan Police Department would like to thank all the members of the community that brought this to our attention in an effort to keep their communities safe. We would like to encourage continued interaction between the public and the department in an attempt to continue to building safer
communities for all.

Lieutenant Alan E. Hill
Manager, Patrol Service Area 202
Second District

Police Looking for Witnesses to Possible Attempted Child Abduction at Turtle Park

MPD Lt. Victor Braschnewitz would like to hear from anyone who observed a possible child abduction attempt that occurred last Thursday, August 11, at Turtle Park Playground. The investigation was prompted by the email he cites in his note.

Lt. Braschnewitz writes:

I would like anyone reading this to please comb their memory and also ask your friends to see if anyone might have witnessed this occurrence. We very much would like to obtain more information on the suspect and the parent who didn't make a report.
[Quoting from the email sent to the police]:
"I wanted to report a disturbing incident that happened this past Thursday at Turtle Park [also known as Friendship Park] on Van Ness Street and 45th Streets. I was pushing both of my daughters on the swings and another mom was pushing her daughter on the swing next to us. She suddenly ran off and returned a minute or so later with her 2.5 year old son in her arms. She was distressed and said that a man had her son in his arms and was walking out of the gate to the park with her son. She ran up and asked what he was doing with her son and the man told her that the boy was looking for his mom. She then grabbed her son, and she said the man left the park, without a child. She had seen him a few minutes earlier sitting on a bench watching the kids but had assumed he was a dad with his own kid at the park. It was incredibly packed at the park - tons of kids and nannies.
I do not know this lady, I did not see the man that did this, and I don't know if she's already reported it, but as a parent that goes to Turtle Park a lot, and as a neighbor that lives right down the street, I felt it was necessary to bring it to your attention."

Lt. Braschnewitz continues:
Anyone who wishes to provide information regarding this matter is invited to contact Lt. Victor S. Braschnewitz directly on 202-369-9880 or 202-715-7355, or via email at victor.braschnewitz@dc.gov . You may also call our Command Information Center at 202-727-9099.

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