Child found safely after abduction scare

Police say girl found safe, with parents entire time

Author: Ashley Harding, General assignment reporter, aharding@wjxt.com
Chris Robbins, Evening newscast producer, crobbins@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 18 2014 09:04:23 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 19 2014 05:07:42 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Sunday morning that a girl they were trying to find after a suspicious incident late Saturday afternoon was found safe with her parents on Sunday morning.

Around 5:30 p.m. Saturday investigators responded to the parking lot of the Target store at  9000 Southside Boulevard, just north of the Avenues mall.

Sgt. Shawn Coarsey with JSO said witnesses say they found a girl between 5 and 7 years old sitting in a shopping cart outside the Target.  When they asked the girl if she knew where her parents were, the girl pointed across the parking lot to the Academy Sports and Outdoors store.

Coarsey said witnesses went and asked a Target employee for assistance when a blue Toyota Highlander pulled up. Officials say according to witnesses, the man driving asked the girl if she was lost and that he would take the girl to her parents.

That's when police say the girl got out of the cart and into the man's SUV. Coarsey said the man drove in the direction of Academy, and then out onto the road.

Coarsey said it's unknown if the man was a family member. He said no parents had reported any missing children on Saturday night.

JSO said detectives were able to track down the girl's parents. After investigation, they concluded the girl had been with her parents the entire time.

JSO thanked the public for their help.