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Nixa Police Educate Kids About Safety, As Attempted Abduction Investigation Continues

NIXA, Mo. -- As Nixa Police Department detectives look into a possible attempted abduction, a new program is educating young children about staying safe.
NIXA, Mo. -- As Nixa Police Department detectives look into a possible attempted abduction, a new program is educating young children about staying safe.

A 6-year-old girl said a woman, wearing a yellow shirt with blue polka dots and driving a yellow van, tried to take her Wednesday as she was playing along Montclair Way. Officers said the girl bit the woman and ran away, escaping without harm.

"One is too many we just want to make sure we continue to educate our public and our community on how to respond if there is a situation like this," Nixa Police Chief Jimmy Liles said.

Wednesday's incident is Nixa's third attempted abduction report in 12 months. Liles said he's thankful, at least, that in each case, the children did what they were taught to do.

"They created distance they went to somebody that they trusted for help and then thy immediately called the police," Liles said.

Just this week, the department launched a program to educate children too young for primary school. It's called Safety Town.

"I have been wanting to do it for years," Nixa Police DARE officer Brent Forgey said. "I have friends across the state who run Safety Town during the summer and I thought, 'What a neat thing to do for the pre-school-age children, to get them all up on the things that we would want them to know when they get older.'"

Forgey said the program gives children ages 4 to 6 the tools they need to stay safe against a range of danger, but especially when it comes to strangers.

"After the Haley Owens case, we looked at a lot of research and it's showing most likely it's going to be a person they might be familiar with. It might be someone on the next street or a few houses down." Forgey said. "So we've had to change that and take that different approach when teaching how to be safe around strangers."


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