A six-year-old boy was lured into the car of an unknown Latino man in Buellton on Friday then shortly thereafter let out of the car unharmed, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The man — who deputies believe could be an estranged relative of the boy — asked the boy to get into his car outside of Oak Valley Elementary after school got out. When the boy told the man a few minutes later he didn’t want to be in the car anymore, the man released him unharmed. The student recounted the incident to his mother, who notified authorities.
School officials and students’ families were also notified. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, and anyone with information is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at 805-681-4171.
“The Sheriff’s Office wants to take this opportunity to remind parents to caution children to never accept a ride from anyone unless you have told them it is okay to do so in each instance,” said department spokesperson Kelly Hoover. “For children who walk home from school, it is especially important that parents walk or drive the route with them in advance and point out landmarks and safe places to go if they are being followed or need help. Please remind children to take a friend whenever they walk or bike to school and to stay with a group at the bus stop.”