SAN MIGUEL COUNTY – Mountain Village Police Investigator Antony Morabito confirmed Sunday morning that a local 11-year-old girl was the subject of an attempted abduction Saturday, Jan. 26, in Mountain Village.
The girl, Morabito confirmed, bit her attacker to get away.
A San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office Wireless Emergency Notification, or WENS Alert, was issued via text message to emergency network subscribers Saturday, at 3:22 p.m.
According to Morabito, the attempted abduction occurred “between 2:20 and 2:30” Saturday afternoon.
According to a statement released Sunday, Jan. 27, at 5:45 p.m., the “white male,” who approached the girl “in the area of the Big Billie’s Apartment complex” was “driving a vehicle described as being similar to a delivery van,” with no windows on its sides, a sliding passenger door, and square headlights. “The rear of the vehicle has two ‘barn’ style doors with windows,” and there is a “crack in the windshield on the driver’s side” roughly five inches long that runs “down towards the dash.” The license plate numbers are not known.
The suspect called the girl “by several names that were close to her real name,” but since she did not know him, “she began walking away from the man and the vehicle.” She then “heard the van drive off, but suddenly the male approached her on foot, grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her against a nearby wall,” whereupon the girl “immediately screamed and the male covered her mouth with his hand.”
At this point, the girl bit her attacker's hand, "and ran to friends at the Big Billie’s bus stop for help,” whereupon the suspect left the area in the white van.
The suspect is a white male, approximately 5’ 9”, between the ages of 35-45, with “salt/pepper hair,” acne scars on his face “and a "chicken pox" scar on his right temple. He has a “medium build and was last seen wearing a black jacket that zips and a navy blue beanie (stocking hat),” and “may have a bite mark on the palm of his left hand.” According to the press release, information and descriptions have been sent out statewide, to the Colorado Crime Information Center and to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.”
Telluride Superintendent of Schools Kyle Schumacher has sent a letter to parents announcing an increase in on-mountain security during Ski P.E.
“It is easy to become complacent in our small box canyon and forget that sometimes bad things happen," he wrote. “I encourage you to have conversations, in age-appropriate ways, with your children about stranger danger and what they should do if a stranger approaches them. I would encourage this conversation be reinforced on a regular basis. There have been many studies done showing how naïve almost all children are when approached by strangers. Don't take it for granted that they know what to do. In this case, the child knew what to do and bit her assailant. Arm your children with the skills they need, but do so in a way that doesn't frighten them or cause undue anxiety."
Of working with officials at the Telluride Ski and Golf Co. to upgrade mountain security for schoolchildren who participate in the schools' Ski P.E. Program, Schumacher wrote, “Your children's safety is our first priority. We will do this in a way that maintains the unique culture of this community, but takes into account the new normals that have been created in schools over the last several years. Telluride School District has continued to work with our local law enforcement officers to maintain and improve our safety efforts, whether in the classroom or around our school grounds."
In a statement accompanying his officers' report, Mountain Village Chief Chris Broady wrote, “We are continuing to conduct interviews and review surveillance tapes from the area
“Any new information or updates will be released as soon as possible.”