Kidnapped Student Escapes To Freedom

CANTON, Ohio - An 11-year-old girl is safe after she was plucked right off the street by a kidnapper as she was walking to school with a friend, 19/43 News' Wendy Gillette reported.

Police, however, said that they need your help in hunting down the person who grabbed the sixth-grader on Second Street in Canton.

A witness to the kidnapping first alerted authorities by calling 911.

"I think a child was just kidnapped right here in front of my house," the witness told the 911 operator.

Then, just minutes later, the principal of Hartford Middle School placed a second call. He said that a student who was walking with the 11-year-old victim ran into his office, crying hysterically.

The student told the principal that someone put her friend in a car and kidnapped her on the Second Street hill, just a few blocks from the school.

The little girl also told police that the man stuffed her friend inside the trunk of his car, and that was the last she saw of her.

Approximately an hour later, a sheriff's deputy patrolling a remote area near Route 43 saw the victim trying to flag him down.

"She was very upset, very distraught," Canton Police Capt. James Myers said. "We called paramedics, and she was taken by ambulance to the hospital."

Police hadn't yet talked to the child to try to find out how she escaped, but the girl was examined at Aultman Hospital for signs of sexual assault.

"She hasn't said, and we haven't asked," Myers said. "At this point, we were mainly just interested in the suspect."

The suspect is believed to have been a stranger, which leaves other parents worried.

"I'm very worried because I've got a little one, and a bus leaves him off at the corner," parent Roger Wells said.

"I was shocked something like this would take place in broad daylight," grandmother Jacolia Williams said.

The suspect is described as being approximately 6-feet tall, in his 30s and weighing 200 pounds. The man is believed to have dark hair, which includes a goatee and a mustache. He also was wearing jeans and a gray-red plaid flannel shirt.

He was driving a blue-green newer model car that had the older Ohio plates with blue print.

The school district sent home a letter with students on Wednesday that told parents about the situation, and gave them some basic safety tips.