Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials are calling off their search for a man driving a white van who was said to have tried to abduct a 12-year-old La Cañada Elementary student, after the boy recanted his story to the authorities.
The boy originally told deputies he’d been walking from school alone on Feb. 8 at around 4 p.m. and was waiting for a light to change at Foothill Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue, when a white van with tinted windows driving southbound on Commonwealth pulled up to the curb in front of him.
He said the ostensible suspect — whom he described as a Latino in his 20s wearing a baseball cap and a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his face — offered him some candy and invited him into the van.
Lt. Mark Slater, acting captain for the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, said Thursday detectives reviewed footage from a surveillance camera located near the intersection that failed to corroborate details of the youth’s report.
“The video clearly showed the boy walking down the street, unobstructed and not approached by anybody. [Detectives] didn’t see the van, so they contacted the kid and his parents, and that’s when he recanted his statement,” Slater said, saying the boy confessed after being requestioned Wednesday.
While filing a false police report is a misdemeanor offense in the state of California, Slater said it was unlikely detectives would prosecute the juvenile.
“Is there justice in prosecuting a 12-year-old boy? Does he understand what he did? It might be better to let his parents deal with this,” he said. “He put the community on edge, but no one has suffered directly as a result — no one was arrested.”