Girl escapes attempted abduction in central Iowa

Community now on edge

MENLO, Iowa -

A young girl is nearly abducted in a small Iowa town - and the suspect is still on the loose.
The attempted abduction happened in Menlo in the middle of the day on Wednesday. Menlo residents say it happened near a fuel stop near the edge of town. Now, everyone who lives there is on high alert.
Witnesses describe a terrifying scene Wednesday - a young girl running for her life, right near the outskirts of town.
"I seen the little girl running cross from the gas pumps to that, and I looked over to the East of me and I see a white, eggshell Tahoe going eastbound and turned at the railroad track," said Rick Cummings of Menlo.
The Guthrie County Sheriff's Office says a man wearing a black ski mask and a Green Bay Packers hat was asking the girl for directions. He was in a white SUV, got out of the passenger side and grabbed the girl's shoulder. Luckily, the girl fought back and was able to get away.
With a population of less than 400 people, the town of Menlo is known for its welcoming and open atmosphere. But now, people are on edge.
"We've heard that it was a nine-year-old girl, and my siblings are a little bit younger than that," said Alex, a young woman who lives in Menlo. "So that makes me feel really uncomfortable, and it makes me feel that I'm not comfortable with them going out anywhere."
Other people who live in the small town are just as concerned.
"You just don't think the worst in your small town, but after I hear some further details, it's definitely scary, definitely eye opening," said Jenna Clarke of Menlo. "I would hope they're not from around here."
Residents are thankful the little girl is safe. And now, they all have one thing on their minds.
"I hope they catch the guy," Cummings said. "When it comes to kids, you got to draw the line somewhere."
Menlo's Mayor Michael Clarke says they are now looking at installing surveillance cameras around town to keep everyone in the tight-knit community of Menlo safe.
If you have any information about the suspect, you should call the Guthrie County Sheriff's Office at (641) 747-2214 or the Stuart Police Department at (515) 523-1896.


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