Putnam County superintendent warns of possible attempted abduction


PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – The Putnam County school superintendent is warning parents about a possible attempted abduction.

Deputies said a teenager was walking to Palatka High School when a man tried to grab her and drag her into the woods Monday on Williams and Lane streets in the Lemon Heights area.

The teen fought back by punching the man, then ran to school, deputies said.

Deputies canvassed the area but were unable to find any leads.

"The student is safe, but I would like for you to be aware that these are dangers even here in Putnam County," Superintendent Phyllis Criswell told parents. "I would appreciate you talking to your students about safety. I would also appreciate, if you would, as you take your children to the bus stop, or if you allow them to walk, that you, yourself, pay attention and call us with any concerns you have."

Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson said the victim did everything right in this case.

"The only thing that I would add would be to try to bring attention to yourself if at all possible," Jefferson said. "Make noise. You want to fight, you want to scratch him, you want to kick him, you want to scream, you want to yell the word 'fire' just so that if any bystanders are there, they can hear what's going on and render some help and call the police."

Police believe the man sought in the attempted abduction is black with a medium build and about 6 feet tall. He has a small scar on the left side of his mouth and was wearing a blue sweatshirt and white Reebok shoes with red shoe laces.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS.