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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Tonight, Cayo police are looking for a man who allegedly tried to kidnap three school girls. It happened this morning at around 8:30 in the fairly remote, rural area of 7 Miles/El Progreso. The girls, aged 9, 10, and 11 were walking to school when a man allegedly picked them up and put them into his double cab Isuzu pickup. Reports say he also tied them up. The family found out about the abduction almost immediately, and gathered men from the community to set chase. Somehow, the report is that the girls managed to get out of the moving pickup and escape. The girls - two of them are sisters - have been returned safely to their parents - who are tonight giving statements at the San Ignacio police station.

As for the suspect - reports suggest he is a foreigner who lives in the area, but he is not at home, and nowhere to be found. Tonight police have checkpoints up to try and find him - but reports also say that San Ignacio police had no vehicle to respond at the time of the attempted abduction this morning. 7Miles/El Progreso is on the road from Georgeville heading to the Chiquibul.

We'll have more on this developing story tomorrow.

Channel 7

Brave Schoolgirls Escape Abductors in El Progreso, Cayo

There is a disturbing report coming in from the west where two men attempted to abduct three girls-ages nine, ten and eleven-from El Progresso, seven miles village in the Cayo District.� At news time tonight, the minors along with their parents are with investigators inside the San Ignacio Police Station providing formal statements as to what transpired. Reports are that the students were on their way to school when they were approached by their abductors. They were tied up and placed inside the vehicle, which then sped off with them. Villagers were notified and set chase after a blue Isuzu double cab pickup; the abductors are believed to include an American national, who lived just outside the village and who owns a bar. Luckily, the students managed to jump out of the moving vehicle and escaped from their abductors.

Voice of: Carlos Monteroso, Former Chairman, El Progresso/7Miles Village [Translated]

"The report is that early this morning about seven miles from Progresso, at about eight-thirty to minutes to nine, three girls were going to school when they were abducted. Up to now, we don't know who did it, but today when I was going to Georgeville, I met the parents of the girls who said that they had made a report that when they were heading to the village; they came across a vehicle that was carrying the girls. One of them jumped out of the car when the other vehicle stopped. When the vehicle stopped, the other girls jumped out when they saw that it was their parents who were on the road. The vehicle in which they were in then drove off. Up to now we don't know officially who was the driver of the vehicle. It is reported that it was a blue car, double cab. We are taking this very seriously and we are looking to see what we can do. The entire village is on the alert showing support and sharing information."

News Five understands that police have since set up a check point in Georgeville, Cayo in an attempt to capture the men.�

Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Almost Abducted, How Three Girls Escaped

The parents of the abducted El Progresso girls speak out tonight. As we told you, 3 girls - 2 sisters and one of their friends were on the way to school in the remote reaches of the Cayo District yesterday morning when a man kidnapped them. According to the girls - the man took off one of their uniform shirts to tie the feet of two of the girls. But one of the girls untied the other two and they escaped in a getaway that seems to come right out of a movie script. Now there are many details like this that still have to be verified but today we went to El Progresso to get the firsthand account of the story. Courtney Weatherburne has more.

Courtney Weatherburne reporting
What should have started as a regular school day in El Progresso, turned out to be a parent's worst nightmare.

Yesterday morning after 8:30, 3 girls were on their way to school - walking along just like these students. But they never made it to school. The report is that a Caucasian man - well known in the village - drove up to the girls in a blue Isuzu pick-up truck like this one. He allegedly grabbed the girls, shoved them in the pan of the truck and sped off. At this point it is not clear where the girls were abducted but it couldn't have been far away, since the school is right up the street from their house. Now, no one knew the girls were missing but by sheer chance or divine intervention, the father of two of the girls told us that he, his son and a friend were all driving along Georgeville road around 12:30 when they saw one of the girls jump out the pan of the truck.

Voice of: Father
"Well we passed in front of him when one of the girls jumped out of the vehicle, she was hanging on the bumper of the vehicle and she jumped out of the vehicle."

"Then when we came out of the vehicle the little girl climbed back up on the vehicle and she took down one of my daughters, she took her out the vehicle and the other girl saw this and jumped out of the vehicle too and the man, when he saw that we were walking towards him, he left."

"It was a miracle of God that we managed to find our daughters."

After the girls were reunited with their families a school teacher instructed her driver to take the girls and their parents to the police station.

Rudy Alvarado, Resident
"She came to ask me for help. I am the driver for her and she ask me to take the little girls to the court."

They arrived at the station around 4:00 yesterday evening to give statements. The mother of one of the girls told us her daughter was traumatized:

Voice of: Mother
"She was afraid when I took her to the court, she was crying because her body trembled."

The girls were then taken for a medical examination and the parents told us they had not been violated.

They only had scratches on their bodies from jumping out the vehicle. But what is still troubling is that based on her daughter's account - the man fondled her and one of the other girls.

Voice of: Mother
"It was only the hits or scratches they had. They examined her and the doctor told me she was fine."

"They lifted up her skirt and she didn't have on her underwear."

"She said that the man touched her like that and touched the other girl as well, he touched. And like he took them to the bush, I don't know where, he took the girls to the bush and touched them."

It is a very disturbing tale. There are still many details that need to be clarified and questions to be answered. One being if the man actually took these girls against their will, where was he taking them - one villager gave us the chilling answer to that one.

Rudy Alvarado, Resident
"According to the little girls they say that the guy was taking them to Belize City and one of the little girls told me that 'I am going to make more money with you, I'm going to make like $8,000 Belize dollars with you.'"

Courtney Weatherburne, reporter
"That's what one of the little girls told you that the man told her?"

Rudy Alvarado, Resident
"They told me when I was going to the police station. That's what they told me."

"When something like this happens, police has to respond very quickly. It's not a joke, it's something very serious."

It is very serious indeed, and although this case is not solved, the family is just grateful that their little girls are safe at home.

Voice of: Father
"Thank God that we saw the girl in that moment jump out the vehicle and we could have seen them."

According to our sources, police are questioning one person at this time. Reports are that the Caucasian along with another man were involved in the abduction. Police are looking very closely at the case, and also trying to fill in some gaps in information.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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Police Still Have One Suspect In Case Of Alleged Child Abduction

The alleged El Progresso kidnapper is in custody OF Cayo police but no charges can be brought as yet because police still don't have a clear account of what actually happened.

It is a complicated case because our information is that the girls keep changing their stories. As you heard last night, the version we got is that the 3 girls were heading to school after 8:30 on Monday morning. That is when a Caucasian man allegedly drove up in a blue Isuzu truck, grabbed them and pushed them in the pan of the truck. According to girls, two of them were tied up by their feet with one of their uniform shirts. But that is not the end of it. Although the medical examination confirmed that the girls were not violated, they reported that the man took them to a bushy area, removed one of the girl's underwear and touched her and another one of the girls.

After that, the girl's father was fortunate to be driving along the Georgville road at the same time the man was passing with the girls in the truck. One of the girls jumped out of truck, then went back to rescue another one of the girls while the third child jumped out too. The Caucasian man then sped off. It's quite an incredible story, and at this point there are still many gaps and details that police are trying to figure out.

But as regards to the alleged abductor - he is well known in the village. According to residents, he does not live in El Progresso but lives nearby and owns a bar in the village. In our interview with the father of two of the girls, he said he would have never thought that this man would ever do something like this. Here is how the father put it. Again, to protect the children, we will not reveal the identity of the father.

Voice of: Father
"My statements are that when I saw that situation where the little girl jumped he could have seen when the little girl was hanging on from the bumper he could have stopped if he didn't have any bad intentions and let the girls get down if the girls wanted to get down from the vehicle."

"Why didn't he wait until we got to him and he could have given us an explanation that he doesn't want bad for the girls that maybe they asked for a ride but they don't have any business out there."

"We would have never suspected a man like him, a respectable man."

Again, these are allegations, and police are still investigating. No one has been charged. Our sources say, the file will be sent to the DPP for advice. We will keep following this case.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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Police Release Suspect In Alleged Child Kidnapping

All week we've been reporting on the alleged attempted child abduction in the remote community of El Progreso/7Miles in the Cayo District. Three girls claim that an American man put them in the back of his pickup and tied them up. They also claim that he touched them - and one of them returned to her mother with her underwear missing. The girls escaped after one of them got free, allegedly jumped out of the moving truck and then freed her sister and friend - all just as her father happened to be coming along on the road.

Cayo Police have had a hard time trying to piece together the facts on this one, and now they are in consultation with the DPP's Office to try and fill in specific details on key points of the allegations.

In the meantime, the suspect was detained for 48 hours and has been released without charges pending the outcome of the investigation. After she gets the completed file, the DPP will make a determination on whether or not to charge the suspect. Her office expects to have the file by tomorrow.

Channel 7

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