Wellston teen fights off kidnapper; suspect at large

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NORMANDY, MO (KTVI) –Educators and police investigators said they were proud of a Normandy High School student who fought off a would-be kidnapper, after several days and reports of attempted abductions across the metro area.

Classmates headed to class Wednesday under the watchful eye of Wellston and Pagedale Police. But the day before, a 16-year-old student reportedly fought off a man police said was trying to kidnap her.  Pagedale Police Chief Steven Haynes said four police cruisers are parked around the school every morning.  But Tuesday morning, one officer was pulled from his post near where the girl was attacked.

“The guy had been sent on a call,” Haynes said. “But when he finished the call, he heard about the incident.”

Police said the suspect thought he found a victim walking on St. Charles Rock Road and Lulu Avenue in Wellston. He grabbed her, cursed at her and told her to stop struggling.  The student risked her life to save her life.  She fought from the sidewalk, until she and the man were on the center yellow line of St. Charles Rock Road.  Police said she then ran across the street to the Pagedale Metrolink station for help.  Police said she did the right thing by fighting to stay among witnesses and not letting the man take her to a secluded location.

“You fight.  Always fight.  Even the babies fight.  Kick and scream,” Haynes explained.  “It draws attention to other people.  Say, somebody’s en route to work and somebody sees that and people are going to pay attention to that. ”

The Normandy School District sent a letter home with parents calling the girl’s decision smart and thanking Wellston Police for their search for a suspect.  Meanwhile, Pagedale’s chief urged students to keep an eye on each other.

“I would suggest that they always walk with a partner,” he said.  “Always.”

In the last several days, kids reported attempted abductions by different suspects across the metro area.

On August 17, 2013 in Ellisville, a 10-year-old girl said a woman tried to lure her into her mini-van three separate times. The girl ran home and was not injured.

Wentzville Police arrested 20-year-old John C. Perry, III.  Officers said he grabbed a 7-year-old girl from her porch on August 18, 2013.  He threw her to the ground when neighbors started running after Perry.  He reportedly told police that voices in his head told him to kill the first person he saw.

On August 21, 2013, Bridgeton Police were looking for a Caucasian suspect with a white tattoo on his arm and wearing a camouflaged shirt or jacket.  A 9-year-old girl said thatsuspect tried to pull her into his white panel van. 

In the letter to parents, Normandy officials also urged families to remind their kids to take practical safety precautions while walking to and from home.  Educators said they don’t want the children to be scared, they just want them to be safe — a desire felt by parents no matter where their children lived.

The suspect in the Wellston case is described as an African-American man with a skinny build and bald head.  He appeared to be in his thirties.  He was last seen wearing a white tank top with blue-jean shorts and a blue visor.  He may have also been carrying a black bag.

If you know anything about this incident, you can call police with anonymous tips.

Wellston Police at (314) 553-8010.

Crimestoppers at 866-371-TIPS.

Crimestoppers online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.aspx?AgencyID=448

Other Incidents

On August 21, 2013, Bridgeton Police were looking for a Caucasian suspect with a white tattoo on his arm and wearing a camouflaged shirt or jacket.  A 9-year-old girl said that a suspect tried to pull her into his white panel van.

On August 17, 2013 in Ellisville, a 10-year-old girl said a woman tried to lure her into her minivan three separate times in Ellisville. The girl ran home and was not injured.

That same week, Wentzville Police arrested John C. Perry, III, 20.  Officers say he grabbed a 7-year-old girl from her porch on August 18, 2013.  He threw her to the ground when neighbors started running after him.  Perry reportedly told police that voices in his head told him to kill the first person he saw.

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