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Mother speaks out about frightening kidnapping attempt

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Around the same time as an alleged kidnapping and sexual assault in Kalamazoo, police say they received a report about an unrelated attempted kidnapping of two young girls.

The mother of one of those girls tells Newschannel 3 it happened under her watch as they were attending a show downtown.

That mother spoke exclusively with Newschannel 3 to give a warning to other parents.

The attempted kidnapping happened right downtown. The mother that Newschannel 3 spoke with asked to remain anonymous, but tells other parents that they need to trust their instincts.

A simple conversation with a stranger who seemed friendly, nearly turned into one Portage mother’s worst nightmare.

“Instead of being normal he kind of got aggressive,” said the mother. “And when I felt him following us, I just knew something was wrong.”

The mother hopes her story will alert others. She says the man approached her family in downtown Kalamazoo Wednesday night near the Wellspring Theater.

The mother says she told her father to protect her three-year-old daughter and two-year-old niece.

“I just said, take the girls, keep walking, keep walking,” said the mother. “Then the guy came inside and reached by my daughter.”

The mother and her father were able to fend the man off until police arrived. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety confirms that it is investigating.

Sarah Joshi runs the Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council, a non-profit focused on preventing child abuse.

“We teach the children that a tricky individual might look like a trusted person,” said Joshi.

Joshi’s organization sends abuse educators into schools once a year to talk with kids about potential predators.

“We teach them to yell ‘no’ as loud as they can, run like the wind, and tell an adult or call 911,” said Joshi.

Which is exactly what this Portage mother is telling her child.

“I don’t want to make the world seem like a horrible place,” said the mother, “but there are very bad people.”

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is investigating the incident, telling Newschannel 3 no arrests have been made. They believe the man involved may have mental health issues.

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