Vernon County Sheriff’s Office releases statement on reports of alleged attempted kidnappings

The Vernon County Sheriff’s Office today released the following statement on viral social media posts regarding alleged attempted kidnapping of Amish:

Sheriff John B. Spears reports that recently the Vernon and Monroe County Sheriff’s Offices have taken several calls as it relates to suspicious activity pertaining to vehicles and or persons in the Amish communities near Cashton and Ontario.

We want to be clear that there have been NO reports of Amish children that have been taken or are missing from our area.  We have taken reports of some suspicious incidents and vehicles in the community, all have been followed up on, and most have been found to be a misunderstanding.   

There is an incident that is still being investigated that occurred in Vernon County near the Vernon/Monroe county line that occurred on Sept. 11 at 4:15 p.m. and involved a tan or brown four-door sedan-type vehicle with Wisconsin plates, driven by a female , maybe in her late 50s or early 60s, with bluish-tinted hair, and a male passenger. They stopped and spoke with some Amish children, and someone in the vehicle asked if they wanted a ride. The children fled into a nearby field, and the vehicle left. As of today, the vehicle and/or occupants still have not been identified by law enforcement.

We always encourage vigilance of your surroundings, and, as these children did, to remove yourself from any situation in which you feel unsafe.  If you see suspicious persons or vehicles, call your local sheriff’s office and report it as soon as you see it; try not to wait to report it later. Also, try and obtain the vehicle’s description, make, model, color, plate number, descriptions of the suspicious persons, physical descriptions, and clothing descriptions. Call 911 or the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office at (608) 637-2123.

Human trafficking is a problem in our nation, and our world, and our state.  However, the idea that human trafficking starts from incidents in which children are snatched from their homes, a parking lot, or the side of the road is rarely the case.  This idea is perpetuated by Hollywood movies, but the truth is most human traffickers use psychological means such as manipulations, fraud, threats, or promises to exploit their victims. These manipulations are sometimes so deep seeded that the victim may not even identify the fact that they are being trafficked until after it has occurred.   

For more information about human rrafficking, we encourage you to go to humantraffickinghotline.org.   If you are a victim of human trafficking, we encourage you to get help by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

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