John Howitt Elementary School is located off of Tebo Avenue in Port Alberni. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

John Howitt Elementary School is located off of Tebo Avenue in Port Alberni. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

RCMP determine abduction report near Port Alberni school was ‘unfounded’

RCMP say they have found no evidence to support the report

Port Alberni RCMP say that after an “exhaustive” investigation, a report of an attempted abduction near John Howitt Elementary School earlier this month has been determined to be unfounded.

Previously, the RCMP reported that on Oct. 10, 2022 at approximately 3:30 p.m., an unknown man attempted to grab a 10-year-old girl while she was walking on Bishop Avenue near John Howitt Elementary School, but the abduction was foiled by a teenage boy.

Cst. Richard Johns, media relations officer with the Port Alberni RCMP, says investigators have canvassed the area, reviewed CCTV footage, interviewed potential witnesses and area residents and appealed to the public for information. No evidence supporting the initial report has been found.

In consultation with the complainant, RCMP say they have determined there was no abduction attempt.

“Given the nature of the report, all available resources were utilized,” said Johns. “Officers believed it was important to ensure the public was advised of any possibility of risk to children. We appreciate the public’s concern, and continued vigilance over the last several days. We are confident there is no risk to the public.”

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Port Alberni RCMP are seeking to identify a suspect in an attempted abduction near John Howitt Elementary School earlier this month, as well as a Good Samaritan who may have intervened in the abduction.

On Oct. 10, 2022 at approximately 3:30 p.m., RCMP say an unknown man grabbed onto a 10-year-old girl while she was walking on Bishop Avenue near John Howitt Elementary School and told her to come with him.

According to RCMP, a teenage boy intervened and pushed the man away. The young girl was able to safely get home and the Port Alberni RCMP detachment was contacted several hours later.

Cst. Richard Johns, media relations officer with the Port Alberni RCMP, says investigators have canvassed the area over the past few days for CCTV, have spoken with homeowners and have confirmed the area in which this occurred.

“Both the RCMP and the family are grateful for the teenager’s actions in helping the victim,” he said. “However, we have yet to identify this Good Samaritan, and we would like to speak to them and obtain any photos or details that they may have.”

The suspect is described as a taller Caucasian man in their 30-40s, wearing black pants, a grey t-shirt, white shoes and a blue surgical mask.

The Port Alberni RCMP are asking for anyone who was in the area of Bishop Avenue between Grieve Road and Morgan Crescent North and who observed or may have dash camera footage of the man to contact the Port Alberni RCMP detachment directly at 250-723-2424.

PORT ALBERNI

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