MANHATTAN, KAN. – Law enforcement authorities have investigated reports of an attempted abduction.
Just before 9:30 p.m. Saturday, a story was posted on a Manhattan man’s personal Facebook page claiming there was an attempted child abduction at the Wal-Mart in Manhattan, Kansas. The post, which contained a picture of a woman and her license plate, was shared over 11,000 times.
In a media release, the Riley County Police Department would like to assure the citizens that we take all incidents like this seriously. We heard from several concerned citizens questioning the situation and our response. After a thorough investigation, it was determined the claims made were unsubstantiated and the attempted abduction did not occur. The woman pictured in the post did not commit any crimes and was wrongly labeled as a suspect by the poster.
After showing video evidence to the alleged victims, they wanted to do the right thing and apologize for the unnecessary hysteria caused by the post.
“”Several days ago my wife and her sister were shopping with our two sons at Walmart,” Joshua Hatley said. “In the course of their shopping, my sister in law claimed there was an incident involving another woman attempting to abduct our youngest child. As a result of the circumstances at the time, we believed this to be true, as my wife did not see the events unfold with her own eyes. This was shared as a warning post on Facebook, and quickly went viral.
We have remained on top of this issue, and after conferring with detectives at RCPD and viewing security footage from the event, we have determined there was never any real danger to our sons, or the general public, and that our relative misrepresented what truly happened to us, and to management.
The woman involved, and her family, are completely innocent and we would like to apologize to them. We believed there was real danger present, and did what we thought was necessary to help mitigate the issue. We are truly sorry for any damage that may have been caused by this event, and we hope you understand that there was no malicious or ill intent behind our actions; we only wished to make sure children were safe from a perceived threat. We have spoken with an attorney and learned that we are unable to pursue anything legally, and that the victim must do this. If you choose to do so, we will fully support you in accumulating any evidence we have access to, and we are incredibly sorry for anything negative that has happened as a result of this.”
If you ever experience a situation where you feel you or your child is in danger, please call 911 immediately. Child abductions and attempts should be reported directly to police. Sharing stories on social media that are not verified can cause undue hardship for the people labeled as suspects who may have done nothing wrong. RCPD prides itself on our relationship with the citizens we serve in-person and on our social pages. We will continue to build relationships with our community through open, transparent release of information and exchange.
RILEY COUNTY — Law enforcement authorities have investigated reports of an attempted abduction.
RCPD was never notified of the incident but was sent the Facebook post by several concerned citizens. The Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to the post by Walmart.
They investigated the claims and found the reports to be unsubstantiated.
Police reported, “we understand the fear that can be caused by reports of unknown people trying to snatch children.
We wanted to let the public know that the claims were unfounded. If you ever do experience a situation like what was described, please call law enforcement immediately. Child abduction is not a joking matter and should be reported directly to police and deputies.
Also, remember that in our social media driven world, that sharing stories on social media that are not verified can cause undue hardship for the people labeled as suspects who may have done nothing wrong.”