OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Officials are searching for a man who they say attempted to abduct a child Sunday outside a Walmart in Poinciana.
The Osceola County Sheriff's Office said the man approached the child in the parking lot of the Walmart at 904 Cypress Parkway and attempted to get her into his car.
"How could he do this? It's my granddaughter," said Niobis Jaquez, the girl's grandmother. "I was devastated."
Jaquez told News 6 her 10-year-old granddaughter went to get something they had left in their car.
The girl told detectives she was walking back toward the entrance of the store when a man in a red car opened the door and demanded that she get in the vehicle. The girl ran back into the store.
"(She said), 'Nana, this guy tried to take me,'" Jaquez said. "He says, 'Get in the car. Get in the car. Get in the car. Get in the car.' I said, 'Who?' She's like, 'This guy, and I told him no, no, no, no.'"
The man is described as Hispanic, 50 to 60 years old, with a bald head. He was last seen wearing a red shirt with a motorcycle on the front and blue jeans.
Officials said the man was driving a dark red Pontiac, possibly a 2008 Grand Prix.
Jaquez said she had a message for the driver: "It's the whole family, the whole community, that you're trying to hurt. Don't you have parents of your own? Or children of your own? I just hope they catch you."
Shoppers said Monday they were on edge after the attempted abduction.
Rosa Perez said she never lets her five grandchildren out of her sight.
"I don't care what I need," Perez said. "If they don't come with me, they are not staying behind."
Parents and grandparents told News 6 that after they heard about the incident, they planned to talk to their children about not talking to strangers.
"Children can be easy targets because they don't know any better," said Jaquan Vaughn, who was with his 4-year-old son. "Unless you teach your kids, they won't know better."
Walmart said in a statement Monday that the store takes the safety and security of its shoppers and employees seriously.
“We’ll work closely with local police as they investigate this matter and (we) must refer all other questions to them,” the statement read.
Investigators from the Sheriff's Office are looking through hours of surveillance video to see if the man was inside the store before the attempted abduction.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 407-348-2222 or Crimeline at 800-423-8477.
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