Authorities have determined “no credible threat” in the case of an alleged abduction from Sunday afternoon.
An attempted abduction of a 9-year-old child was reported Sunday at 3 p.m. from the Town Creek apartments in LaFayette.
“At this time the LaFayette Police Department feels there is no credible threat to the community,” LPD chief Bengie Clift said, after being briefed Monday on the forensic interview.
The child's grandfather sent the girl to take out the trash and became concerned only minutes later when she did not return.
A sole eyewitness who was sitting in a van was interviewed by police. He said he saw the child as she was half-way to the trash bin, but lost sight of her as she rounded a corner.
The trash bins are about half-way between the grandfather's apartment (200 building) and the utility vault in which she was found, for a total estimated distance of 150 yards, which would be visible from the apartment.
The grandfather went outside, yelling for the girl, and was then assisted by neighbors in a search that lasted about 15 minutes, according to Clift.
Two of the grandfather's friends heard muffled yelling and found the girl inside an industrial water meter container at the end of the apartment complex.
“When they got her out of the box, she (told her grandfather's friends) that a man had grabbed her and put her in the box,” Clift said.
She described a young man, with blue athletic shorts and several tattoos.
LaFayette police questioned one person who vaguely fit the description. But his wife confirmed an alibi, that she was with him until nearly 4 p.m. and was not in that vicinity.
The utility vault has a large metal door that a child could not open and would be extremely difficult for a man to open single-handed, according to authorities.
After the girl was rescued, the grandfather called authorities about the girl's allegations of abduction.
LaFayette authorities brought in special agent Dan Sims, with Georgia Bureau of Investigations, to process the scene and interviewed neighbors.
No one interviewed had witnessed a man fitting the description in the neighborhood in the time frame of that incident.
The girl was briefly questioned by authorities, before being taken to a hospital by ambulance.
The girl disclosed an allegation that she had been physically assaulted, which ended the police questioning at that time.
The commonly held protocol for interviewing children dictates that once a child makes an allegation of a sexual nature, the interview is ended and a forensic interview will be sought due to specific training in dealing with children in a non-intimidating and non-leading manner.
On Monday morning, March 24, the girl was taken for a forensic interview at the Child Advocacy Center in Fort Oglethorpe. The interview lasted more than an hour.
The interview attempts to determine the credibility of statements and reaffirm any details regarding suspects, which is then compared to initial statements and the accounts from witnesses.
A physical examination of the girl, standard in cases of alleged sexual abuse, was conducted on Sunday evening, March 23, which found no evidence that sexual assault had occurred.
Authorities are no longer seeking any suspects in the matter and the case has been closed.