67ºF

Parents glad boys are safe, but upset man won't be prosecuted

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to 'work through events surrounding incident'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The family of two 9-year-old boys who claim that a man tried to take them from a Riverside front yard Monday night was upset when they heard the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office wasn't pursuing an attempted abduction charge against the man.

David Brown, 54, was detained after being chased by a grandparent and held by five citizens. But after questioning all involved, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office only arrested him on an old warrant that charged him with drinking on public property.

"I was really upset due to the fact that if anyone has kids and another stranger tell your kids to get in the car, there should be some type of charge," said the father of the boys, who did not want his name used.

The family told News4Jax that might be because the boys gave conflicting statements.

Witnesses said Brown pulled up in front of the family's Spruce Street home, got out of his car and began talking to the boys. With the permission of their parents, the boys spoke to News4Jax. We are not identifying them or showing their faces.

“I was trying to ride away with my scooter and he said, 'Put the scooter in the house. Get in the car. We gangsters," one boy said.

The boys reportedly had to fight off Brown.

“My grandson said, "Nana, I had that shovel because I was about to knock him out. I was going to beat him up because he said he was going to get me in that car,'" said the boy's grandmother, Shirley Jones.

Family members and neighbors pursued Brown when he drove away. He was taken into custody at a gas station at the corner of Margaret and Post streets, about 1 mile away, after five people held him until police arrived. 

Early Tuesday morning, police said Brown wouldn’t be charged, saying investigators don’t believe the attempted abduction ever occurred.

"If you got a witness that said he told that child to get in that car, come on. You can’t charge him for that?" Jones said.

The father said his boys told their family one story and told police another.

“They told us the guy grabbed them and tried to put them in the car, but they told the officer something different," the father told News4Jax. "They told the officer the man didn’t try to grab them. The man was hitting them on the shoulders like he was playing. If we don’t know you, you should get some type of charge.”

Tuesday evening, JSO Police Information Officer Melissa Bujeda sent a statement:

After an extensive investigation and after consulting with the State Attorney’s Office, currently there is not enough probable cause to charge anyone with attempted kidnapping or attempting to lure a child in reference to this incident. The investigation is ongoing and any witnesses who can provide additional information to assist with this investigation are asked to call police at 904-630-0500."

While disappointed over the lack of prosecution, the father said things could have turned out far worse.

“I’m proud of them for what they did, by fighting him off and didn’t get in the car with the guy," the boy's father said Tuesday. "But one thing they didn’t do was tell the police the 100 percent truth.”


About the Authors: