Police unsure if man tried to abduct West Paris student; still searching

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WEST PARIS— The Oxford County Sheriff’s Office is pursuing a man who allegedly appeared at a West Paris home Wednesday morning claiming he was a school driver to pick up a sixth-grade student.

Oxford County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Wyman said police were taking the situation seriously though it was too early to determine whether the incident was an attempted abduction.

“We just don’t know what his intentions are at this point,” Dep. Wyman said.

Wyman described the individual as a thin white man in his sixties, mustached, and driving a red SUV.

The mother of the student reported to school officials and police that around 8 a.m. on Jan. 15 a man arrived and knocked on the front door of the home. After opening the door, he reportedly identified himself as a school representative and that he was there to transport their child to the Paris Elementary School.

The mother denied the request and the individual left the premise and proceeded to a neighbor’s house, which according to Dep. Wyman, was vacant at the time.

Wyman was unsure whether the incident was related to similar incidences at the middle school in Paris in December and another on Main Street in West Paris several months ago.

The incident was reported to Paris Elementary School Principal Jane Fahey and the sheriff’s office, who arrived on the scene within minutes of the incident, SAD 17 Assistant Superintendent Patrick Hartnett said.

Sheriffs met with the parent and school officials, who posted a message on the SAD 17 school district’s website alerting parents of the incident.

Hartnett said the school district transports students in private vehicles only under rare circumstances where prior parental permission has been received from identifiable school staff.

“The school district takes these matters seriously,” Hartnett said.

“Student safety is of paramount importance and we continue to work with law enforcement to address this matter,” he continued.

Anyone with information for the sheriff’s office can contact its investigation unit through county dispatch at 743-9554.

Hartnett encouraged parents to contact the district with questions, at 743-8972.