CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Federal agents have not linked two cases of suspects in a white van attempting to abduct children in Wayne County and St. Albans to four similar cases in Kanawha and Mingo counties.
Within the past two months, the FBI and various local police agencies have been investigating reports of apparent male suspects attempting to coerce or force children into a vehicle in Wayne, Mingo and Kanawha counties.
"Part of our challenge now is trying to determine if these are connected or not," said Joe Ciccarelli, FBI supervisory senior resident agent.
Agents believe two alleged attempted abductions in Wayne and Kanawha counties last month involve the same suspect or suspects driving a "box-style," older model white van with possible front-end damage:
Kanawha County Sheriff Lt. Sean Crosier said there might be two suspects working together in these cases. One male suspect has been described as 50 to 60 years old, balding with gray hair and possibly a "pot belly." The man also might have an eye that he is unable to open. Police do not have a description of the second man.
Four additional reported cases - three in Kanawha County -- have conflicting suspect descriptions or have no suspect descriptions provided:
These cases possibly involve different suspects because both male and female victims have been reported, Ciccarelli said.
"We are seeing a little bit of an uptick in reported cases," he said. "That could just mean that people are being more alert or somewhat suspicious or it could in fact all be related."
Ciccarelli reminded parents and guardians to educate their children about "stranger danger." He said anyone who sees anything suspicious should report it to local law enforcement agencies immediately.
Crosier reminds eyewitnesses to get a description of the suspect's vehicle, what he or she is wearing and which direction they were heading.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.