Police look for suspect after attempted abduction in California, Mo.

Police look for suspect after attempted abduction in California Mo

CALIFORNIA, Mo. - UPDATE 5 p.m.: Madison Ratcliff a restaurant employee with Burgher Haus in California, Missouri, told ABC 17 News the teenager who was close to being abducted got inside the restaurant in distress.

Ratcliff said, when she looked outside, even she saw the same van the teenager was talking about many times before.

"He was very shaky, he kind of... I think, he was a little nervous. He was just kinda freaked out more so. More than like, 'oh my gosh, I could have died' you know? He was just kinda of like freaked out, I think. Which would freak anyone out in my opinion," Ratcliff said.

When ABC 17 News asked if the victim said anything about what the man in the van said, Ratcliff said "yes," and that the teenager was also smart enough to not to listen to him.

"He said something like, 'hey do you want to get in my van? I'll take/drive you to work?' and the boy was like, 'No, oh no, no, you know I'm fine, I'm walking, it's fine,'" Ratcliff said.

According to Ratcliff as soon as he got inside the restaurant he was texting a family member not knowing what to do. 

"I did see the vehicle park right down here (Village Green Shopping Center parking lot), in front of the flower shop," Ratcliff said.

California R-1 School Superintendent Dwight Sanders gave more details about what the van looked like:

"Blue conversion van, mid-'80s, early to mid-'80s, two-tone blue, no license-plate and extremely rusty. The gentlemen was an older gentlemen, thin build, a beard, gray beard as I understand it," Sanders said.

This attempted abduction comes after last week's attempt around Columbia Public Schools and that suspect has also not been caught but police officials with California, Columbia and Jefferson City are not ruling out if they are connected one way or another.

Law enforcement officials is asking everyone to stay alert and to report any information immediately to police.

UPDATE 3 pm: The California R-1 School District Superintendent Dwight Sanders, said he is asking the student body and parents to keep an eye out for the described suspect's van. 

ABC 17 reached out to Jefferson City police to see if officers believed the attempted abduction that happened in Jefferson City was connected to the California one.

A spokesperson for the department said there is no evidence of a direct correlation but police have not ruled out the possibility of the two being connected. 

ORIGINAL STORY: The California Police Department is asking for the public's help in finding a suspect after an attempted abduction Wednesday.

Officers were told about the attempted abduction around 5:30 p.m. at the Village Green Shopping Center.

An older, white thin man with a scraggly gray beard, driving an early-to-mid 1980s model two-tone blue van came up to a teenage boy and tried to get him to get inside the van, police said.

There were reportedly no license plates on the front or back of the van.

The teenager instead went inside a restaurant and called a family member. When officers arrived, the suspect and vehicle were gone, according to police.

The Police Department notified the California High School, which released a statement to notify school staff and parents of the incidents.

California police said officers have taken numerous phone calls with tips and followed multiple leads.

So far the suspect has not been found.

If you have any information on the suspect or vehicle in the picture above, you're asked to call the California Police Department at (573) 796-2818.


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