Possible abduction in West Paris a “complete misunderstanding”

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By: Christopher Crosby

WEST PARIS—The individual who raised suspicions in West Paris after knocking on the door of a sixth-grade student turned out to be a school district employee, police said Friday.

SAD 17 school district officials alerted parents on Wednesday following an incident where a man arrived at the home of a West Paris sixth grader and told her mother he was there to transport her child to school.

The mother refused, and immediately called school officials, who relayed the incident to the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office.

For two days, law enforcement pursued the investigation, attempting to find the individual.

On Friday, Oxford County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Wyman said the incident was a false alarm after the driver of a Rumford-based taxi service arrived at the wrong address.

It appears as though a school unaffiliated with SAD 17 assigned the taxi service to transport a West Paris student to school, according to Assistant Superintendent Patrick Hartnett.

After the original driver’s vehicle broke down, the company issued a second driver, Wyman said. However, the driver had the wrong address, but after seeing a child at the residence he believed he was at the correct location and proceeded attempting to transport the student to school.

Sheriffs discovered the mistake after the father of the student scheduled to be picked up learned police were searching for an individual suspected of abduction, and called police to report that it was possible the entire case was a complete misunderstanding, Wyman said.

Police cleared after taxi cab driver after he was identified as the man who visited the West Paris house Wyman said.