SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – A parent in Mill Creek is opening up about her daughter’s terrifying encounter with a stranger last week.
“I lose my breath talking about it, it’s scary,” said Ellen Lugome. “I said honey, we need to report this to the police right away, someone was trying to abduct you.”
Lugome said her daughter Marian was walking to her school bus stop just before 7 a.m. on Oct. 24. It was before sunrise, and in the dark morning hour a stranger in a vehicle her daughter didn’t recognize began following her.
“Then all of a sudden she heard a guy yell out to her, ‘Hey do you want a ride?’” said Lugome. “She said no thank you, and she kept walking and he pulled up further and said to her 'I really think you need to get in the car.'”
A neighbor’s surveillance camera recorded part of the scary incident.
“It was very frightening, we’ve always taught our children what to do in different circumstances,” said Lugome.
Marian, a student at Jackson High School, bolted to her bus stop, which is only a couple blocks away from her home.
The school district sent out safety notices to families after the incident was reported.
Mill Creek Police are investigating, and have concerns about the driver’s intentions.
“Based on her age, I do have concerns potentially for a sex-trafficking victim that unfortunately does happen in the Everett area,” said Mill Creek Police Detective Tara Marks.
Police are telling students to use the buddy system when walking to and from school or the bus stop.
They also advise students to put phones away and be attentive of surroundings.
If approached, police say don’t ever take rides from a stranger, and instead run to a safe location and tell a trusted adult what happened.
Police advise, if it can be done safely, a license plate number or a picture of the car can help tremendously in a case like this.
Lugome said since the incident, the family is taking extra precautions and driving their children directly to school.
“She’s a strong go-getter and she’s not about to let something like this hold her back,” said Lugome.
Police say the vehicle is a smaller SUV, possibly a Hyundai Santa Fe, a Honda CRV or a Subaru Outback. Detective Marks said the vehicle is dark in color, either black or dark blue.
The driver's described as having a dark tan complexion and a short, dark beard.
If you have any information that can help police find the vehicle or identify the suspect, Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound will pay you a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest in the case. Call 1-800-222-TIPS or go to www.P3Tips.com. You can also submit tips through the P3 Tips App on your cell phone. It is anonymous. You do not have to give your name.