WALKER – If a “credible threat or risk of child abduction,” had been found by the Walker Police Department in a recent investigation, a warning would have been issued, according to a police spokesman.
Capt. John Sharp, public information officer, issued a statement Sunday, July 16, as an update to social media reports last week of an attempted abduction of a child.
Rumors of an attempted child abduction at the Walmart store in Walker spread across social media on Tuesday, July 11.
“We can confirm that on the morning following her post alleging an attempted abduction, she filed a report with our department,” Sharp said in Sunday’s statement, also posted on social media.
“We are investigating the complaint. We hope you understand that we cannot provide details regarding an investigation,” he said
“While we cannot comment on the status of our investigation or any evidence we have obtained and reviewed, we can say that had we obtained and reviewed any evidence suggesting a credible threat or risk of child abduction, we would have issued a warning,” Sharp said.
The department would have included information on how residents could protect their families, he added.
“At any time during the investigation, (if) we determine that there is a credible threat or risk of a child abduction, we will issue an appropriate public alert,” Sharp said.
On Wednesday, July 12, Sharp, the social media director for the police department, posted a statement on the department’s Facebook page in response to the rumors.
At that time, Sharp said an investigation had found no evidence to confirm the attempted abduction occurred.
Sharp said the department was advised on Tuesday, July 11, about the Facebook post, “along with some seemingly related accounts of similar occurrences at other locations.”
The person posting the story insisted she called police and notified Walmart management, he said, but the Walker Police Department had not received any report.
“We have confirmed with the Sheriff's Office that they are aware of the post and that they too, have received no report or information to support the claim of the person who posted the information,” Sharp said last week.
Police contacted the local Walmart and it had no record of an alleged report, he had said.
“To be on the safe side,” Sharp said, other Walmart stores in Livingston Parish were contacted and, “They have no records of such an incident either,” nor any surveillance video to support the story.
“Obviously, such a story caused a lot of unnecessary fright,” the police captain said last week. “We urge all responsible social media users to refrain from passing on such stories unless verified by law enforcement.
“We are unaware of the motivation of the person who created the story,” Sharp said, “but rest assured that we will be discussing that issue with the person who originally posted the story.”
Sharp said the Police Department appreciated the public bringing this to its attention and urged residents to contact the department anytime they see something suspicious.
Kevin Fambrough is a reporter at the Livingston Parish News. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @fambroughkevin.