NORTH OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – A 9-year-old girl escaped from a man attempting to kidnap her near a church in North Ogden on Thursday.

The attempted kidnapping occurred around 3 p.m. outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 626 East 2600 North, confirmed by North Ogden PD Sgt. Morreale. The suspect grabbed the girl by her arm as she walked to meet her family at the church after leaving North Ogden Elementary School. 

The suspect, who was wearing all black clothing and a surgical mask, told the young girl he could help her find her family. While he was opening the door to his vehicle, the girl kicked the suspect in the leg and ran away.

Police said the suspect was seen leaving eastbound on 2600 North. The suspect was described as being a man between 20-30 years old, driving a black “sporty type” vehicle with unidentified stickers in the rear window.

The Weber School District issued the following statement regarding the incident:

“I wanted to reach out to you to make you aware of a couple serious situations the police have been dealing with in our community.

We were informed today that on yesterday afternoon (Thursday), one of our students was walking to a nearby church when they were approached by a suspicious male.  The male talked with the student and then tried to force her into his vehicle.  Fortunately, she put up a fight and was able to get away.

The North Ogden Police Department is investigating this case as an attempted kidnapping.  The suspect is described as a tall, 20-30 old male with a dark complexion.  He was wearing all black clothing, a black surgical style mask, and had on black shoes with white soles.  His vehicle is described as a black “sporty-type” car with an unknown sticker in the rear window.  If anyone has information regarding this person or the car, they should contact the North Ogden Police Department at (801)782-7219.

I already sent you some information on the other incident that happened this morning in the park near the school.  We have been informed by the police that these two cases are not related.

Like you, we are very concerned over what happened near our school.  We ask that you take some time to talk with your children about stranger danger and what they should do if they’re ever approached by someone they don’t know.  Children need to understand that they should never go with a stranger, that it’s okay to scream and yell if they’re scared, and if they need to, fight and run away.  They should also seek out help from a trusted adult like a police officer, someone from the school, or a crossing guard.

As far as walking to and from school.  If possible, children should not travel alone as there is safety in numbers.  They should stay on designated routes and should never take shortcuts through yards, parking lots or alleyways.

We also encourage them to report any suspicious activity to an adult, or if they have a phone, by calling the police. The SafeUT is also a great resource for reporting concerning information to the school.

I would expect we’ll see an increased police presence around the school over the next few weeks as they continue to investigate what happened.  We will also remain vigilant at our school to make sure everyone stays safe.  I will keep you updated as we get more information from law enforcement.”