CHILD SNATCH ATTEMPT
By SHAN GOODWIN
POLICE are appealing for help to find two people who tried to snatch Carol Smith's 10year-old daughter as she walked home from school.
The mother ? who did not want to use her real name ? said her daughter was walking home from Wyrallah Road Public School about 3pm last Thursday.
A grey station wagon with dark tinted windows and a black and white number plate pulled up beside the little girl.
The passenger side window was wound down 10cm and a female voice told the school girl she had to come home with them this afternoon.
The girl said, "No, my mum said to walk home", and started running. The car drove off towards Lismore.
As a result of the attempted abduction, School principal Ralph Taylor sent a letter home with all students on Friday warning parents of the incident and asking them to discuss 'stranger danger' with their children.
He also spoke about it at a school assembly and had all his teachers follow up with classroom discussions.
"Without overplaying it and scaring children, we have to be aware as a community that this threat exists," he said.
Mr Taylor felt most parents were very conscious of the issue and taught their children from a young age not to go with strangers.
The incident was isolated and no-one had reported seeing the car about the school, he said.
Mrs Smith said she stood at the front of her home, which is within 100 metres of the school, to watch her daughter walk to and from school each morning and afternoon.
She said there was a small crest which blocked her view of the incident.
Mrs Smith, who also has a 14-year-old daughter, said it was terrible that children could not even walk such a short distance home from school with their safety guaranteed.
"How can there be people out there who would do something like that?" she said.
"I can't stop thinking I could have lost her. It's so worrying. It can be so quick and they're gone.
"You can't print what my husband and I would do to those people if we caught them.
"The first thing that came into my mind was a picture of (missing Sunshine Coast teenager) Daniel Morcombe ? my heart went out to that family.
"They can't defend themselves, our babies, and they are so precious."
Mrs Smith and other Wyrallah Road school parents said the school could not be praised enough for the efforts it made to ensure child safety.
All children were escorted to their buses, no changes were made to transport home without written notes and the principal himself manned the back gate every morning and afternoon.
The school is also building a car park so parents can pick up and drop off students on school grounds.
Leisa McLean said she would not let her three sons out of the backyard without supervision.
"There is much more attention to these things than when I was at school, but it's a much different world today, isn't it?" she said. "We can't be too careful. Parents shouldn't think they are being paranoid. We can't take anything for granted."
Lismore Police Inspector David Larkin urged anyone with similar experiences or information on the attempted abduction to contact police on 66231599 or 1800333000.
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