LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Police Department officials are warning the public about at least one incident in which a child or children were nearly lured into a stranger's vehicle.
Few details were immediately available, but an LMPD spokesman said Wednesday that on Tuesday night, officers were dispatched regarding a suspicious vehicle in the 9300 block of Blazing Star Drive in Norton Commons. This is in LMPD's 8th Division.
Casey Reynolds called police saying her 12-year-old daughter was walking the family dog around 9 p.m., a block away from their house on Featherbell Boulevard, when a white female, approximately 40 years old with long, brown hair, approached her in a newer model, small, black SUV with tinted windows. Initial reports suggested it was a Lexus, but LMPD Officer Dave Hamblin said at at news conference Wednesday morning that it's not necessarily a Lexus. He also said a white vehicle may have been involved in addition to the black SUV, and added that the woman might have been working with a white male as well.
"It's very scary stuff, very scary stuff," Reynolds told WAVE 3 News. "A car approached her from behind...with a lady in it and she pulled up and she said, 'Your mom's busy.' She told my daughter, 'She told me to come pick you up and get in the backseat.'"
She said her daughter knew that wasn't right.
"She said no, you're lying and turned and started to run home," Reynolds said.
Her daughter had a cell phone and called her, and the family called police right away. They thought they may have seen a similar car still in the area. One neighbor got a quick shot from a surveillance camera.
Officers observed the vehicle while with the family, but were unable to stop it when the vehicle hustled away.
The LMPD spokesman said a similar incident may have happened last week in the same neighborhood involving a man and woman in the same described vehicle. A neighbor witnessed a vehicle with a couple inside asking a boy if he lived in the neighborhood and if he wanted to get in. The boy ran. However, a report of that incident was only posted on the NextDoor app, but nobody called 911, so police don't know much about that case.
"NextDoor.com is a fantastic tool for us ... and many times (users are posting there)," he said. "But they're not calling 911. Call 911 first. We'll never tell you not to go to NextDoor.com afterwards, but call 911 first."
Hamblin also said that with a new school year right around the corner, right now is a good time for parents to speak to their children about stranger danger and going over a communication plan in case something unusual is happening.
"My youngest is 17 years old and I still have that conversation with her," Hamblin said. "You don't have to be a child. Right now is a great time to have that conversation because school is getting ready to start back."
The Reynolds family is very proud of their daughter's quick thinking, but they know another child may have acted differently. They hope every parent has a talk with their child about things like who they can ride with, and staying in groups or pairs.
Hamblin was asked if he thought the incident(s) could be linked to a possible child sex-trafficking ring, but he didn't specifically address that.
"Until we know what we're dealing with fact-wise, we don't want to speculate," he said.
Just as Hamblin's media availability wrapped up at about 11:50 a.m., LMPD posted on its Facebook page about a new and possibly-related incident in the 7th Division, but did not share a specific location:
Below is video of Hamblin's media availability: