Police: Alleged abduction attempt 'did not occur as originally reported'
After further investigation, the Rochester Police Department has determined that an alleged abduction attempt "did not occur as originally reported."
Here's an excerpt from a news release sent out Thursday:
Currently, the investigation into this incident is coming to a close. Considerable time, effort, and staff hours have been devoted to this case during the past week. Based on numerous interviews and information developed during the course of this investigation, it has been determined that no public safety threat exists and the events in question did not occur as originally reported.
The incident was reported last Friday around 4:30 p.m. in front of the Gates of Rochester apartment complex on 41st Street Northwest. The initial report stated that two children, ages 6 and 7, were approached by two individuals, one of whom was holding a knife.
The children ran away from the two strangers and told their parents, who contacted police.
Police released information about the incident to the media on Tuesday. The story was shared thousands of times on social media, prompting widespread concern in the community.
"A balance always exists between alerting the public to potential danger and inducing widespread fear," the statement reads. "As such, the Rochester Police Department wishes to extend our thanks to the public for their overwhelming response to this incident."
Despite some additional red flags about the accuracy of the report, the department stepped up patrols of the bus stop where the incident was alleged to have occurred. Police also worked with the school district to develop an action plan to keep students safe while the investigation was ongoing.
According to police, the kids are new to the country and have trouble speaking English. Capt. John Sherwin said given the children's ages, they were likely more confused than anything else. "They did not do it to lie," he said.
The children's parents were cooperative throughout the investigation.
(Cover graphic: Rochester Police Department)