Police scour Gaston parks for suspects in attempted abductions

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - The communities surrounding two Gaston County parks are on edge after two attempted kidnappings involving young children happened just two days apart.

The assailants in both cases are still on the loose Tuesday.

Police are looking for the man who tried to abduct a 14-year-old girl in Martha Rivers Park and they want him found before Halloween, when thousands of children will be on trick-or-treating.

Police made extra trips around the parking lot of Martha Rivers Park Tuesday.

The increased patrols come the same day police interviewed the 14-year-old girl who was nearly abducted Martha Rivers Park Sunday night when she was walking in a wooded area around the park.

She said a man who is possibly Hispanic tried to make her follow him. When she refused, he forced her to the ground and got on top of her.

Her brother, who was nearby, heard her screams and came to her rescue.
The man ran to a black truck and drove away.

Police have several detectives working this case.

"We want to go ahead and get a resolution on the matter and make everybody feel safer about what's going on," said Sgt. Jimmy Arndt of the Gaston Police Department.

The day before that attempted abduction, another man dragged a 10-year-old child into the woods near a McAdenville park.

The child escaped, but police are still looking for the man.

The attacks have gotten the attention of churches planning events for Halloween.

Pastor Martin Hatch expects a crowd of up to 600 people at Christ United Methodist Church, which is near Martha Rivers Park.

They are adding more security and talking to their neighbors.

Read more here.