Is Tucson safe for kids? Two attempted abductions in less than week – Update: second kid was lying

For the second time in less than a week, a man tried to abduct a teenage girl on her way to the bus stop, according to news releases from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Two different men and two different girls were involved. One of the would-be abductors had a gun.

Are you moving yet?

abduct1THISThe first girl targeted was a 15-year-old on her way to the bus stop around Camino de Oeste and Ivory Rose around 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 19.

The guy got out of his white Ford Ranger pickup, complete with dark tinted windows, pointed the gun at the girl and demanded she come with him.

She ran.

The Jan. 19 suspect is described as a Caucasian male, early to mid-40s, thin build, approximately 6’0” tall with dark brown hair wearing a dark blue pullover hoodie, light blue jeans and brown hiking boots. He was armed with a black and silver handgun.


abduct2THISThe second girl* was a 12-year-old heading to the bus stop near Romero and Wetmore roads around 7:50 a.m. on Jan. 25.

This guy grabbed the girl around the waist from behind but she pulled away and ran to the nearest Circle K and called 911.

The Jan. 25 suspect is described as a light colored skin male with a thin build. He was between 20 to 30 years old and between 5’7” to 6’0” tall. He was wearing black sweat pants, which appeared to be dirty and worn, and a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled tightly around his face. He was also wearing black shoes.


Maybe folks should drive their kids to school for a while.

Both girls, thankfully, did the right thing. They ran. They called for help. They reported it to authorities. They got home safe.

Running, kicking, screaming, struggling and calling any attention to the situation is the way to go. Never go quietly into that dark car.

Kids should also know the target areas that can really hurt a person, such as their eyeballs, knees and, of course, the groin area.

While the guys attempting these abductions used a deadly weapon and physical force, respectively, the Tucson Police Department points out some other tactics abductors may use.

Like asking the kid to come with them to help them find a lost puppy. They may also bribe the kid with money – or that infamous candy from strangers – or tell the child his parents and have been in an accident of some sort and hurry, come with me.

Parents should also pay attention to what their kids are wearing every day and keep current photos, just in case.

Never put the kid’s name on the outside of his clothes – that’s just begging for a stranger to pretend he knows the child. The same caution should be used for your pets. Never outfit your dog with a collar that has his name blazoned across it in neon.

“Come here, Leo, Leo.”

Police also suggest getting your kid fingerprinted, making sure he knows your phone number and how to make a collect call, and your address.

The buddy system works – abductors don’t particularly care for kids traveling in pairs – as does having neighbors keep watch and telling the school to call you if your kid doesn’t get there one day.

Make sure the route to the bus stop does not include alleyways or other potentially dangerous areas.

Don’t worry about frightening your child by sharing such info, the situation would be a lot scarier if he or she were not prepared.

Too bad the biggest fear about going to school may be way more intense than simply forgetting to do the homework.

For more info on Tucson police child abduction prevention click HERE.

*UPDATE 1/26:

The 12-year-old girl who claimed she was nearly abducted on Jan. 25 was lying about the incident, according to an e-mail from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.”The case has been closed.”


wb-logolilWhat do you think?

What precautions do you take to make sure your kids are safe?

Have you ever run into similar situations?

What did you do?

What about kids carrying weapons? Should they be allowed to?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, gross stuff, life, Police/fire/law and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Is Tucson safe for kids? Two attempted abductions in less than week – Update: second kid was lying

  1. azmouse says:

    Obviously, no child is safe at any age. I would have NEVER let my kids walk to school or a bus stop, unless there was a group of them, and they were at least in middle school. I was always way to paranoid about abductions to let my kids go anywhere when they were little.

    I’m shocked at how many little tiny kids will be walking to and from school in my neighborhood. I always made sure that work understood my kids came first and I always took them to school and picked them up, even if it interrupted my work day.

    • Rynski says:

      good tactics, azmouse. and obviously they worked since your kids are still safe and sound.
      it is a shame that such measures have to be taken – esp., as you mentioned, some may interrupt a work day – perhaps some bosses who would not understand such interruptions.
      good you were able to be there for them!

      • azmouse says:

        Over the years, there were a few bosses who were less understanding than others, but if you pick your battles, and being there for my kids was my ONLY battle, I could usually reason it through with them.

         Plus, I kept everything in a really small space. For example, I worked at Grant and Swan, had one kid in school near Grant and Columbus, lived at Grant and Columbus, and other kids at school at Dodge and Pima, etc. Our lives were compact so we were all always close together. If I could work it out that way, anyone can. For the safety of your kids, it’s worth the extra effort and planning.

      • Rynski says:

        you’re such a good mom – and organized, too!

  2. leftfield says:

    Greetings, Ryn.  Very good point to mention about not putting your dog’s name on the collar.  My wife has warned me many times not to tell strangers our dog’s name.  So, for all you would be dognappers out there, though I can’t share his name, he also will respond to, “No, No, Bad Dog!”, “Put that down!”, “That’s disgusting” and “What is that smell?”. 

    BTW – I’ll be out of town today and he’ll be out in the backyard.  He’s a sucker for Pupperonis.

  3. Jennatoolz says:

    Well, I don’t have kids (yet), but I tend to avoid putting myself in positions that could possibly lead to me being abducted. I won’t even go near those creepy ice-cream trucks anymore! I’d imagine that I’d probably be the same as Azmouse with my future children and do all that I can to keep them safe from being kidnapped.

    • Rynski says:

      hahah – creepy ice cream trucks!
      i agree, jenna, we have to keep ourselves safe no matter what the age.
      another move i use is NEVER parking next to a van or large vehicle in a parking lot. too many stories of hooded vagabonds popping out of the van and snatching folks away, never to be seen again.
      …although ted bundy had a stylish volkswagen…
      i’m always on the lookout for danger, perhaps sometimes to the point of paranoia (must be all that nyc training).
      but, like i say, i’d rather be paranoid then dead.

      • azmouse says:

        I’m the same way as you guys…better safe than sorry!

      • azmouse says:

        …but I love the ice cream trucks. They are cute and colorful, with snazzy tunes.

      • Rynski says:

        nah, i started not liking ice cream trucks when one used to circle the SAME brooklyn block playing the SAME creepy-cheery tune OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER blasting through the tinny speakers around 10 p.m. EVERY NIGHT all summer.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        I don’t know where these cute ice cream trucks you’ve seen are at, Azmouse. All the ones I’ve seen are beat up, faded, and the tunes are enough to make you cringe. Hahaha. 😛

      • azmouse says:

        I’m tellin’ ya. The ice cream trucks around here are so cool!  One is bright orange and white and the tire rims spin, and it has all kinds of snappy (not crappy) whirly-gigs going..and what seems to be an ever changing selection of peppy tunes. It makes me smile!

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Lol, I guess I’ve only really seen the one at Reid Park and it’s definitely not jazzed up in any way, shape, or form. 😛

      • azmouse says:

        Jenna, trust me when I tell you some cool ice cream trucks are like amusement parks on wheels bringing happiness and delight to the beautiful children (and some adults…love the strawberry shortcakes!) of our fair city.
        You’ve probably just been seeing the ones that front as an ice cream truck but are really crack-mobiles.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Crack mobiles! Yes! That’s exactly what I think when I those ugly ice cream trucks. “Can I get an 8-ball please? Oh yeah, and a Pushpop too. Thanks.”

        I too love the strawberry shortcakes. 😉

      • azmouse says:

        If the ice cream truck driver is missing teeth, might be a crack-mobile.

  4. tyrone jackson says:

    With the border 40 minutes away we need to keep our kids at close range! Phoenix is number 2 in the WORLD! that above Somalia Iraq Columbia and Uuganda. That being said we also need better protection from the border patrol, nobody knows if this was a kidnapping attempt for money or for sexual assault regardless, Tucson needs to wake up and demand better prorection for our children. I am not sorry if someone dont like the message because Imade refrence to the  border as an example but the truth is mexico is a sess pool for scum ridden animals with over 100,000 rapes a year and thousands of murders weekly it is what it is.  We wont ask for safety for our children we DEMAND it.

    • Rynski says:

      thanks for input, tyrone.
      it is scary out there on many fronts.
      it’s also sad that we have to force kids to lose their innocence, trusting nature and sense of childlike wonder by giving them so many warnings – and techniques on how to kick an abductor.

  5. Ferraribubba says:

    Ah . . . Creepy ice cream trucks. reminds me of one of my favorite movies, ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space.’ LMFAO!  I’ve been interested in outer space and telescopes ever since I  worked at the old Hollywood Citizen News in the early 1960’s, and we used to watch Barbara Payton, the ex-starlet turning tricks by looking through her open window in the run-down hotel that she was living in right across the street. She knew that we were looking, hell she would even pulled a chair right up to the window and kept the lights on at night for us. Sometimes she’s even smile and wave. <g> Talk about your heavenly bodies! Google her for some interesting reading. Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

    • Rynski says:

      how you get from ice cream trucks to peeping toms i’ll never know – but you do! – thanks, as always, for comments, ferraribubba.
      p.s. never saw killer klowns from outer space – but i’m betting it’s in the same category as eraserhead – hahahha.

      • Ferraribubba says:

        Hey Rynski: That’s easy, my friend. Ice cream trucks – Killer Klowns from Outer Space – telescopes – heavenly bodies – Barbara Payton.
        Kinda convoluted, but to my twisted mind, it’s as natural as Jill St John’s red hair was back in the ’60s.
        Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba 

      • azmouse says:

        Love Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and I’ve recommended it to many TC  folks.
        It’s a must see

      • Rynski says:

        jill st. john!
        thanks for clearing up the mystery, ferraribubba!

  6. radmax says:

    My daughter always thinks she is old enough to do things the big girls do. It’s hard to impress upon her the fact that there are some not so nice folks out there. You always have to be careful with your kids; what they are doing, where they are doing it and who they are doing it with. The beware of strangers thing gets told to them regularly at home and school, still it’s heart wrenching to hear of yet another abducted kid. It happens all too often. My daughter also knows to scream her lungs out and some ‘sensitive’ areas to kick or hit as hard as she can, she also runs very fast. 😉

    • azmouse says:

      Good parenting, Maxxie. I remember all my kids thinking they should be allowed to do stuff by themselves way before they were old enough. It can be a battle to let them grow up and keep them safe. In the end, they’ll grow up and see why you did what you did and they’ll be glad you cared enough. My kids are!  🙂

      Jeez…look at what happened to my son Wesley a year ago when he walked to the store and got jumped by thugs. He was 20 then…our kids are constantly in harms way at every age, as I suppose we all are.

    • Rynski says:

      screaming, kicking eyeballs and running fast will take a girl very far. good training, radmax!

  7. azmouse says:


    Just heard the second abduction attempt on the 12 year old girl was a hoax. She made it up and is now in trouble with the police, obviously

  8. Fallinone says:

    Its funny how everyone is so worried about the strangers lurking in the streets of Tucson but fail to understand the outcome of this child crying wolf. Why would a child cry wolf to something as serious as abduction, Dont our parents have the know how to teach our children not to lie about this type of tragic issue…… Or are we the strangers in the house……. And one other thing the child preditors have always been here so why wait till now to show our children the seriousness of  STRANGER DANGER

    • azmouse says:

      Um, the ‘stranger danger’ thing I knew about as far back as I can remember as a kid here in town…well over fourty years, so nobody is waiting…..I’m lost on your point on that.

  9. Jackie says:

    I am really sad to think  that someone I know would do this terrible crime to an 11 year old.  My heart hurts for the little girl, I have 4 daughters, 3 granddaughters, and 1 great  graddaughter.  This is some one in my family that did this terrible crime.  I am sickened that it happened and feel so much dislike for this person (Steven McPherson) our whole family has been affected by this horrific assult on this young girl.  I do hope and pray she is ok.  I know that this well effect for for many years to come.  I hope he rots in jail, prison or whever he well be.  He has taken away from his 62 year old mom,  She needs to get a job but has no way to even go apply- he used her car in this commision of the crime. and they are holding it for the evidence.  WHAT AN IDIOT.  No feelings for him whatso ever except contempt..  Dear LOrd I know I am wrong for these feelings but I can’t help it.  She feels terrible for the young girl.  We hope and pray for her recovery,  she didn’t deserve this.  Her little sister deserves a medal !!!!

    • azmouse says:

      Thanks for sharing that with everyone, Jackie.
      I always feel sadness to the family members of criminals because they have to deal with the pain and shame of what there loved one did.

      We are all hoping that the little girl will be ok, and can’t understand why he did what he did to her.

      I hope you and your family will be ok.

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