A 16-year-old girl waiting to go to school Friday morning escaped an attempted kidnapping in part by clinging to a chain link fence, Akron police reported.
Akron police later that day arrested a 29-year-old man, charged him with abduction and placed him in jail. Police said the man may have been recently paroled.
Police have two surveillance videos from different perspectives that show the incident at a Metro bus stop, with the man initially engaging the teen and then quickly grabbing her.
Videos record the struggle
The videos show them struggling as she grabbed a chain link fence and then she broke away from him. The man tossed what was later said to be a cellphone back to the teen. She backed away, he took some steps toward her then turned around and left.
The teen got on a Metro bus shortly afterward, the girl’s mother said Monday. The Beacon Journal is not naming the mother or teen for the victim’s safety.
The bus was late getting to the stop, which gave the man time to engage with her daughter, she said. Her daughter typically takes a Metro bus to her school, where she is a junior, she said.
“Me, as a parent, I am a nervous wreck. It was terrifying to know that something like this has happened,” the mother said. “Once a child is taken, you might never ever see the child again. You might find them in a landfill. Anything might happen.”
“I’m grateful for her bravery. I thank God every day that she’s safe, unharmed, alive,” she said. “God is good, God is good. Nothing but the grace of God.”
Her daughter remains shaken up but was back at school Monday, her mother said. The teen tried to go to school Friday after talking to police but later asked to return home.
“It’s a process,” her mother said.
‘Somebody tried to take me’
Her daughter was crying when she got on the Metro bus Friday morning, she said.
“She FaceTimed me as she was walking to her seat,” the mother said. “She said, ‘Mommy, somebody just tried to take me.’ “
Her daughter had never seen the man before, she said.
Her daughter appeared distraught in the video call, she said. “It’s traumatic.”
Because the Metro bus was later than usual to the stop where her daughter was waiting, it might have made her daughter look like “bait” and the suspect saw an opportunity, she said.
The Metro bus took her to the Pfaff Transit Center, her mother said. “I wind up getting her, she’s brought back home. We went to the police station and filled out police reports.”
“She had never seen him before in her life,” she said.
Mom: Improve safety, awareness
The mother said she wants to increase awareness about abductions and improve transportation safety for students like her daughter who use the Metro service to get to school.
“They’re like sitting prey,” her mother said.
Akron Public Schools need to provide safe transportation for students such as her daughter, her mother said. Metro buses expose students “to too much of the outside. Anybody could be pretending to wait for the bus, in which this was the case here. He was pretending to catch the bus.”
The teen girl told police she was waiting at a bus stop on South Arlington Street near Neville Avenue about 6:24 am Friday when a man walked up to her started talking with her. Within seconds, the teen said the man grabbed her and tried to drag her toward a car that he had parked nearby.
Police make arrest
The teen grabbed onto a chain link fence, which helped break the man’s grasp, police said in a news release. The man took the girl’s cell phone but tossed it back to her before to go to his car and leaving driving off, police said.
The teen’s mother brought her to the police department at 7:45 am to report the attempted abduction.
Da Aron Jackson, 29, has been charged with abduction and a parole violation, records show. He was arrested by police Friday and booked into Summit County Jail.
Beacon Journal reporter Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: ‘Mommy, somebody just tried to take me,’ Akron teen calls mother