Saying they could find no evidence to back up claims by an 11-year-old girl that a man tried to abduct her after she got off the school bus late last month, Mandeville police have called off the search for the would-be kidnapper, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Detectives had followed up on almost 50 tips that came in after police released a sketch and described the man as a heavy-set Hispanic man with short hair, a mustache and glasses.
There were no witnesses to the incident, and police scoured the neighborhood for video and checked phone records and sex-offender registries, said Lt. Gerald Sticker of the Mandeville Police Department.
The girl gave “inconsistent and contradictory statements” during the investigation, Sticker said. He refused, however, to accuse her of making up the story.
The girl’s father, David Crawford, disputed the statement that his daughter had told different stories to police. “She never made an inconsistent statement,” he said. “Her statements were exactly the same each time.”
Crawford said either he or the girl’s mother was with her in each of her interviews with police, the last of which occurred just two days ago.
In giving at least three statements to police, she spoke with at least four different detectives, he said.
During the interviews, he said, the police often got details recounted during previous interviews wrong.
“They couldn’t read their own notes,” he said.