Attempted Child Abduction in Columbia County

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BENTON -- An attempted child abduction in Columbia County has parents on high alert, and police are looking for the two suspects. Benton Police said two men tried to abduct a seven-year-old boy on Tuesday as he was walking home from school.

Benton Police said two men in a red pickup truck tried to lure the boy by offering him candy. The boy ran away and told his parents, who called police. Parents in Benton said this is a wake-up call, and they are scared to have their children go anywhere by themselves.

Parents in the Benton Area School District said the community in Columbia County is normally a quiet one, but a reported attempted child abduction has parents shaken up.

"I couldn't believe it. It's just very shocking in this small community. It's scary, very scary," said Pam Carr.

Police in Benton said the boy was walking home from school on Tuesday around 3 p.m. when a red pickup truck stopped him. The two men inside allegedly told the boy they had candy for him if he got inside the truck. The boy ran away and told his parents. His parents called police, who alerted the Benton Area School District.

"We use what is called school reach which is a global call that calls all parents. After I received the script I sent it out to parents so they would be informed," said Superintendent Penny Lenig-Zerby.

Lenig-Zerby said more parents than usual drove their children to school after the incident, and the district took extra precaution.

"As a district I called the principals. We had additional staff out here in the morning," said Lenig-Zerby.

Police said there were two men inside the red single cab pickup truck. The truck was rusty and looked like someone tried to cover the rust with red paint.

The Benton Police Chief said the seven-year-old boy did the right thing by running away and telling his parents. The chief also suggests having your kids walk in groups and telling your children not to talk to strangers.

"We explained everything. What happens if somebody tries to take her and what she should do, not dilly-dally around getting off the bus and everything," said Carr.

Parents in Benton said this is a wake up call. Kevin Brown no longer trusts his children walking by themselves.

"We gotta walk the kids everywhere now. It's just scary, period because we don't want anyone's child getting abducted," said Brown.

If you have any information you are asked to call the Benton Police Department in Columbia County.