Sheriff's deputies: NOT an attempted abduction

Deputies went door-to-door looking for clues.

Sheriff's deputies: NOT an attempted abduction

CREATED May 8, 2012

For the third time in recent weeks, a child could be the target of a crime.

Reporter: Tammy Vo
Web Producer: Sara Wright

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Pima County Sheriff's Deputies say the case of a man witnesses say was following a student in a van was not an abduction attempt. But, they have not ruled out if the man was engaged in some kind of criminal activity.

Yesterday afternoon, witnesses say they saw a boy on his bike being chased by a man driving a white van near Sabino Canyon Road and Snyder. It happened at around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, just one week after three sisters on Tucson's northeast side reported that a man broke into their grandparents home and sexually assaulted them and more than two weeks after Isabel Celis disappeared from her eastside bedroom. Deputies say that they have no reason to think that the cases are related.

John Trevino was doing some construction work in the area when he heard a loud engine. He says that he saw the driver of the van try and talk to the boy but the boy tried to get away.

"He was so scared. You don't see a look like that on nobody's face. The way I saw him so scared... it touched me. It got to me," said Trevino. He explained that the boy was pedaling fast and trying to change the gears on his bike so that he could get away faster. Trevino said that the van followed the boy from behind, by just feet. "Real close like he was trying to hit his tire or something. It's a terrible thing when you lose your kids like that. I hope to God this kid is alright."

KGUN 9 spoke with another neighbor who saw the van and said that it seemed out of place. Another neighbor down the street reported seeing a strange white van parked on the side of the road earlier that morning.

Deputies tell KGUN 9 that the boy ditched his bike and hid in a bush. Neighbors saw the van circle back a few times, and then take off.

"How certain are you that the boy got away safely?" asked Reporter Tammy Vo.
"Based on the witness statement, the van was out of the area. They physically saw the van leave. The boy remained hidden for a period of time and took off running" said Deputy Renee Carlson of Pima County. Investigators spent Tuesday talking to neighbors and nearby schools, trying to locate the boy on the bike as well as the driver.

Neighbor Mary Mallis lives nearby and was shaken up to hear about what happened. "It's evil. All these kids, including Isabel, not found. Who knows where they're taking these kids? Are they taking them across the border? Are they selling them? It's making me angry and I pray constantly."

Deputies still want to interview the boy. He's described as fourteen or fifteen years old with brown hair. He was last seen wearing  a navy or black jogging suit or hoodie with a white stripe down the sides of his pants along with sneakers.

Call 911 or 88-CRIME if you have information.