Indio police now say a man suspected of trying to abduct a student near Indio High School on Tuesday did not try to kidnap her. However, there is a "strong possibility that an assault did occur" said Indio Police Commander Hank Peeters. A possible suspect has been identified, but he has not been connected to any attempted abduction, and the case is not related to a first attempted abduction case from the same area on May 13.
According to Peeters, "The Indio Police Department is no longer actively looking for a suspect or suspect vehicle originally reported by the victim on May 21, 2013 and are diligently attempting to bring this case to a successful conclusion with the appropriate criminal charges, if any."
For the second time in just over a week, a man tried to abduct a girl on her way to Indio High School. The victim told police she was being followed by a suspect in a red, two-door vehicle, northbound on Aladdin Street at about 8:10 am. According to police, the suspect tried talking to the victim, and then drove to De Plata Avenue and Aladdin Street.
As the girl turned onto De Plata Avenue, police say the man got out of his car and tried to physically restrain her. She managed to fight him off, and run away. Someone passing by took the girl to Indio High School, where she reported the incident to police. She suffered some minor injuries in the altercation, but declined medical attention.
Investigators created a composite sketch based on the victim's recollection of the attempted kidnapper.
The suspect is described as a white, male adult in his late 20's to early 30's. He's approximately 6 feet 2 inches tall, and was last seen wearing a grey tank top with the letter "D" (possibly Arizona Diamondbacks emblem), and red basketball-style gym shorts. He has a multicolored tribal band style tattoo on the left upper arm, and full-sleeve tattoos on the right arm. Police say the suspect also had a full beard, a pierced eyebrow and wore sunglasses and a white baseball hat.
Indio police along with Desert Sands Unified School District Security report they are increasing their visibility around the school.
This is the second incident in just over a week involving a man trying to abduct a girl walking to Indio High School.
Police say a man driving a beige Ford Expedition offered a girl a ride as she walked to school the morning of May 13. This incident happened along Aladdin Street, just south of Shadow Avenue. The suspect tried to grab the girl, but she fought him off and escaped without physical injury.
The suspect was described as a 30-year old Hispanic man about 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing about 220 pounds with a dark mustache and a goatee.
"We have no indication that the two incidents are related," said Indio Police Commander Hank Peeters. "The suspect and suspect vehicle descriptions are very different. But, we are aware that the incidents occurred around the same time, same general area, and with similar M.O.'s and are following up on any leads."
Anyone with information related to either incident is urged to contact the Indio Police Department at 760-391-4057 or Corporal Dan Marshall at 760-541-4291. To remain anonymous, please contact Coachella Valley Crime Stoppers at 760-341-STOP.