Media Hysteria Watch: Local News Show Freaks Out Over Footage of a Car Briefly Stopping

The abduction attempt that wasn't.


Under the headline ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING CAUGHT ON TAPE, an Oregon Fox affiliate gives us this account of a girl who noticed a car was slowing down behind her as she biked, "locked eyes" with the driver, decided he was about to try to kidnap her, and then rapidly rode up her driveway to get away. This triggered her home's motion-activated cameras, so we have not-quite-dramatic footage of a car stopping at the end of her driveway for a moment and then moving on. And that, apparently, was enough to justify a local news report:

"It's all speculation, of course," the girl's mom notes to the reporter at one point. Then she plows ahead with her ideas about the terrible things the driver might have been thinking as he briefly paused his car.

It turns out that the ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING was, in fact, a man trying to find a boat shop. Lenore Skenazy has posted the sheriff's report on the incident:

The vehicle and driver of the suspicious vehicle reported to the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office on Monday, March 31st has been located and is of no further interest. The Sheriff's Office would like to thank everyone for their concern and assistance in locating the suspicious vehicle.

Family members located the vehicle at a McMinnville business on Saturday afternoon, April 5th. The driver and owner of the vehicle was cooperative with Sheriff's Deputies, and stated he had driven to the Sheridan area to look for and purchase boat parts and became lost while looking for the business. Sheriff's Deputies were able to confirm the driver and his dog had been to the area on the day of the reported incident looking for the boat shop, and ultimately made a purchase there.

There's no word on whether this purchase was caught ON TAPE.

Bonus statistics: In 1999, according to the most recent Justice Department report on the subject that I'm aware of, 797,500 children were reported missing. But the number of "stereotypical" kidnappings—defined in the report as crimes where a stranger or slight acquaintance "detains the child overnight, transports the child at least 50 miles, holds the child for ransom, abducts the child with intent to keep the child permanently, or kills the child"—was just 115.

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  1. I hope they put him on the sex offender list, just to be sure he doesn’t try to do this again.

  2. OK, so he wasn’t a pedo kidnapper, but he owns a boat, so


    HE’S RAPING OUR CHILDREN (‘s futures (with his greeeeeddddd))

    1. What are you talking about? The kid’s parents can afford security cameras and dirt bikes! They’re the filthy one percenters! The kid deserves to be raped!

  3. I think your 115 is even high.

  4. “There’s no word on whether this purchase was caught ON TAPE.”

    Home of the free and the brave!

    1. Any word on the status of that where the.guy was.subpoenaing NSA phone records to.serve defense?

  5. If only one child is protected from kidnapping, it will all have been worth it. You don’t … hate … children … do you?

    Also, someone evidently follows the Alanis Morissette school of irony.

    1. If concentrating children in camps where only responsible adults could save the life of even one child, don’t we have an obligation to try it?

      1. Aren’t those called “Public Schools”?

    2. Did any of you ever see the British show Brass Eye? This is pure genius

    3. Also, someone evidently follows the Alanis Morissette school of irony.

      The use of “ironically” in that report doesn’t even rise to the Morissette level of meaningfulness.


    /helicopter hovercraft parent

  7. If I see a kid in front of me on a bike, I’m probably going to slow down and try to make eye contact. This way I know we both know where each other are, and there’s less of a chance of a collision with a careless kid. I didn’t know that’s now attempted kidnapping.

    1. That’s it, buddy, you’re going on the list!

  8. What a nation of hysterical pussies we’ve become.

    1. Talk about divide and conquer. We’re so divided that we look at every stranger we meet as someone who is going to do us harm. Can’t get much more divided than that.

      1. Isn’t that pretty much how it was in East Germany with the Stasi? Everyone was potentially (and often likely) informing on everyone else, even family members.

        1. Yep. That’s what happens when you criminalize unfavorable thought.

  9. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The best thing you can do for a new parent is turn them on to Skenazy and

  10. Again, a warning to men: do not be in the vicinity of unaccompanied children, do not talk to them or smile at them or help them find their lost parent in a store or park. Pretend they are invisible to you. If the crying child is your grandkid, then make sure they are wearing a sign that says “This is my grandpa” with an arrow pointing to you, and you have a notarized letter of permission from the kid’s parent on your possession.

  11. That 115 figure is from fifteen years ago. If you’re going to include it in the article (and you should), then you should make the effort to find a more up-to-date number.

    1. That 115 figure is from fifteen years ago.

      Hence the phrase “In 1999.”

      you should make the effort to find a more up-to-date number

      If you’re aware of a more recent study, please point me to it. This is, oddly, the source that still gets cited everywhere, including by academics and advocacy groups. The FBI’s annual crime stats do not cover this category.

  12. I like the dramatic shots of the ground and the empty street. And we get to see the car four times!

  13. When I’m busy being a pedestrian, the odds that a car slows down or stop near me are unbelievably high. Amazingly, these drivers have destinations that are along my route. Go figure!

  14. Additionally, I was run into once by a lil girl cycling while I was waiting for the bus to work. I had no idea I was a kidnapper.

    1. It’s an outrage that you’re still walking around free!

      1. Technically I was limping around free for a bit.

    2. You’re going on the list too!

  15. My wife loves children. When she first came to the USSA, she would try to talk to and play with every little kid she would see. I told her to stop doing it a couple of times, and she looked at me oddly.

    She asked me if I thought she could get a job here working with small children. She used to teach elementary level students. I told her HELL NO!

    Then we had the talk.

    I basically told her, DO NOT talk to little kids, do not smile at them, wave at them, look at them, and ESPECIALLY do not touch them.

    She got upset with me. Then I showed her some stories on the internet. She can’t believe that our culture is like that. In her country, people are not like that at all. I don’t know if any place else is like here. This country is becoming the very definition of psychotic level group hysteria.

    1. Is she from an Asian country? I work in China now and studied in Hong Kong my junior year, and I regularly wave hi to kids (when they don’t shout “hello!” first). I have never had a Chinese parent be anything but pleased at my friendliness. On a visit home, I actually had to force myself not to do that.

      Granted, China has its own problems with not helping others (mainly due to the lack of Good Samaritan laws outside Shenzhen), but one mostly need not be paranoid there.

  16. When I was a kid, people would actually stop and ask me directions.

  17. When we moved into our current neighborhood, I was driving past two people, the sun was slanting into my eyes, and I couldn’t tell if it was two young moms or two teen girls. I very purposely avoided any eye contact as I drove by. Better a couple of moms think the new neighbor is kind of an asshole, than I wave hi, and two teens run home to report the guy that tried to kidnap them.

    My wife thinks I’m paranoid.

    1. “Paranoia seems to require being imitated to be understood, and it, in turn, seems to understand only by imitation.” ?Eve Sedgwick

  18. “The family’s cameras ironically installed just last week…”

    Reporter gets bonus points for misuse of “ironically.”

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