MINOOKA — The Board of Education at Minooka Elementary School District 201 has given Superintendent Al Gegenheimer approval to seek bids for a chain-link fence along the edge of the Aux Sable Elementary School property on Misty Creek Drive in Minooka.
The decision to erect a fence came after a student at Aux Sable was allegedly the victim of an attempted child abduction during school hours several weeks ago.
On Wednesday, Sept. 12, a mother (who wished to remain anonymous in print) picked up her 10-year-old son from Aux Sable and noticed he was acting differently than he normally does after school.
He didn't initially want to tell his mother what was wrong, but she convinced him to.
After the boy ate lunch at school, he walked outside as usual for recess, he told his mom. He was one of the first kids out of the doors this time and stopped to wait for his brother and friends to catch up.
He stopped in a spot where he was not supposed to, however.
After veering slightly to the left toward the playground once he was outside, the boy stepped off of the school's blacktop and onto a grassy area separating the school from a cornfield.
The boy's back was to the cornfield as he was watching the school, waiting for his brother.
"He heard a crunching noise behind him and when he turned around he saw a man coming toward him," the mother recalled from her son's story. "The man covered (my son's) mouth and dragged him into the cornfield about three rows back."
The boy claimed he kicked and flailed his arms, causing the unknown man to drop the boy to the ground.
"I tried to get away," the student told his mom. "I kicked him as hard as I could."
The man then allegedly stepped on the boy's leg and told him if he told anyone about the incident, the man would come back for him, a friend or a young family member, the mom said.
The man held a clear and partially black spray-painted air-soft-like gun at his side, according to the mother recalling her son's story, as well as the report from Minooka Police.
The man then allegedly ran deeper into the corn and the boy returned to the school grounds, not telling anyone of the incident as he claims he was ordered.
The boy told police the first person he told his story to was his mom when she picked him up around 3:30 p.m. that day.
An officer investigated the incident and reported he did not see any signs of a struggle on the boy's leg or clothes. He did not observe any dirt, injuries or marks on the boy, according to the police report.
He also asked the boy to show the officer where the incident took place. The student took the officer to two locations in the field. The student said he was not exactly sure where it had happened.
The officer reported the dirt in the areas the boy pointed out was hard and the officer did not see any fresh marks in the area where a struggle may have occurred. The officer did see several stalks of corn knocked down in several different locations along the first row of corn.
No school cameras point at the field, but the school reported there were five adults outside with the children at the time of the alleged incident and none of them witnessed the struggle.
Minooka Police Chief Justin Meyer said there was not enough evidence to substantiate the claims and, therefore, he and the department are considering the case inactive. Meyer does not believe there is a threat at this point.
The boy's parents are not taking their son's story the same way, however. They fully believe their son's story.
"I know my son," the mother said. "He was crying (after the incident) while he was playing his video games."
The boy has been "traumatized" by the incident, the mother said, but they are trying to stick to a normal routine as much as possible. He did miss three days of school following the alleged abduction, but has returned.
"I'm paying attention now. This man can be anywhere," she said.
The boy's mother wants to warn all parents in the county of this incident. She is thankful for harvest time, too, because the cornfields around the area are being taken down now.
The cornfield by the school has been harvested, Gegenheimer said.
"It is our responsibility to take care of the children," the superintendent said in reference to the alleged incident and getting fence quotes in response. "If moms and dads don't believe their children, then nobody will."