After investigating for a day, the Sûreté du Québec says there is no foundation to a report of an attempted abduction of a 10-year-old boy in St-Lazare, which was spread on Facebook on Thursday and Friday.
“The story is unfounded,” SQ Sgt. Ingrid Asselin confirmed Friday afternoon. “It never happened.”
Asselin said police were tipped off to a possible abduction, and investigated the complaint, though she would not say from where the source of the tip came.
It seems police were taking the complaint seriously, as residents noted a higher police presence than usual in the town on Friday.
The story had parents on edge, and spread like wildfire on Facebook, where it was shared by several prominent community groups, including West Island Mommies.
The Facebook post said a man hopped out of a dark van on St-Robert Rd. in St-Lazare and grabbed a 10-year-old boy, who was able to escape.
Following the report, parents of students at Evergreen Elementary School in St-Lazare were sent an email by school principal Kathleen O’Reilly Thursday afternoon warning them to be vigilant.
“We do not wish to alarm anyone but in an effort to be proactive we want to let you know that the police are currently investigating a reported attempt of a child abduction in our community,” the email read. “This would have happened outside school hours. To date, the police are still investigating. However, we felt it necessary to share this information with you as a reminder to review safety procedures with your child. Thank you for your understanding.”
Speaking to The Gazette, O’Reilly said whether the report is true or not, parents should take this opportunity to review safety procedures with their children for when they’re travelling to or from school.
“It’s not to alarm people, but to tell them to review with their children’s safety measures of what to do when they’re alone, or outside, not to talk to strangers, just the basic things that they should be reviewing on a regular basis.”
Asselin said the investigation is closed at this point, and said there won’t be any charges laid against the child in question because he is too young. She would not say if police believe the child made up the story, or where the source of the Facebook post came.
Here is the complete Facebook post:
Two men tried to abduct a 10-year-old boy on St-Robert St. near the corner of Bouchard in St-Lazare, qc. One man drove, when the van stopped the other man got out from the side door and grabbed him. Thankfully he was able to get away.
The man who grabbed him is described as being in his mid-30s to early 40s with a “pinch” (facial hair below lower lip), he wore a dark hoodie. The van is a fullsize model cargo style with outward opening doors on the side instead of a sliding door. Color of the van is black or dark with decals or painted accents on the side. Police report has been made. Please watch your kids closely and report any suspicious behaviour to the police.