Hermiston Police Issues Social Media Warning

Hermiston Police issue warnings over numerous stories discussed on social media regarding alleged kidnappings within the last weekend.

Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston issued the following press release:

On the 15th of June 2013, this department initiated an Information Report regarding an incident that took place at Wal-Mart in Hermiston.  The initial report was regarding a suspicious male.  After investigating the matter to include watching video footage, a black male is observed saying something to a child, pointing in a direction, and then continue to walk in the opposite direction of the child.  The entire encounter was approximately 3 seconds.

On the 17th of June 2013, this department initiated an Information Report regarding an incident that took place at Wal-Mart in Hermiston.  The initial report was regarding an interaction between two adult females.  One of the females had a 9 month old child inside the main section of a shopping cart and the other female is reported to have tried walking away with the shopping cart.  When the female was confronted (some two body lengths away) she quickly apologized for having the wrong cart.  Extensive video footage was reviewed but the interaction was not in an area under surveillance.  It is not known if the female (described as white with dirty blonde hair in her 40’s) even knew there was a child in the cart.

On the 19th of June 2013, this department initiated an Information Report regarding an incident that reportedly took place in the 200 block of SW Butte Drive.  What was reported to us is “12 year old daughter was walking home when a black male driving a white van with tinted windows and bars in the back stopped and got out, he was walking towards her, she started walking faster, she then ran to a neighbor’s residence”.  There was no interaction between the unknown male and the child.

Chief Edmiston adds, Social media can be an incredible tool for law enforcement to utilize.  Unfortunately it can also lead to misinformation.  If we had pertinent information that led us to believe abductions were attempted, we would at a minimum issue a public alert seeking assistance.  We are not at that point based on what has been reported to us.