Girl claims man tried to kidnap her during field trip to Houston Zoo, police say

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor, Sophia Beausoleil - Reporter

HOUSTON - A man tried to kidnap a girl during a field trip to the Houston Zoo on Wednesday, police said.

Houston police said the 6-year-old girl, from Humble, said told her parents that she had gotten away from her group when a man tried to grab her, put his hand over her mouth and said, “You’re coming with me.” She screamed and was able to get away, police said.

Investigators said surveillance video showed a man shadowing the group before he met up with another man and left the zoo.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said a chaperone watching the girl had three other students and went to grab a student who ran away. 

“When you a crowded spaces like that think about the Adam Walsh case, happens this fast,” said Acevedo as he snapped his fingers.

The man was described as Hispanic, in his late 50s, between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing between 150 and 160 pounds, with black hair. He was last seen wearing sunglasses.

Police said they have not yet interviewed the girl.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.

Officials at the Humble Independent School District sent the following message about the incident to parents:

“On Wednesday after school, a student told her parents at home that she became separated from her group during the first-grade field trip to the Zoo and that a stranger grabbed her arm during that time. Her parents contacted the Houston Zoo and the child's teacher on Wednesday evening.

“Nothing is more important than the protection of children. The Zoo and our school launched an immediate investigation, bringing in City of Houston Police and Humble ISD Police.

“The investigation has involved checking surveillance video and taking witness statements. At this time, we have not found evidence that the child was separated from her group nor interacted with a stranger. The chaperone states that the child was always with her. However, Humble ISD is continuing to investigate the incident and assisting our law enforcement partners.

“We appreciate the parents proactively notifying us and the Zoo. We take every safety concern very seriously.”

Officials at the Houston Zoo issued the following statement:

"The safety and security of our guests, employees and animals is our highest priority. As soon as we learned of the child’s account from her father, we began an internal investigation and have been working with HPD and all relevant parties."

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