Schools alerted after man seen talking to girl in Elmwood Park backyard

A police sketch of a man seen talking to a 7-year-old girl in her backyard before fleeing, as well as the possible type of car he was driving. | Courtesy Elmwood Park police
A police sketch of a man seen talking to a 7-year-old girl in her backyard before fleeing, as well as the possible type of car he was driving. | Courtesy Elmwood Park police

A suspicious encounter between a stranger and a 7-year-old girl last week has prompted Elmwood Park police to alert local school districts.

Elmwood Park Police Chief Frank Fagiano released a composite sketch of a man and the car he may have been driving.

According to the alert, a man described as white, tall with a medium build and wearing a red baseball cap approached a 7-year-old girl who was playing in her backyard on March 23, while his vehicle was parked in the alley behind the residence.

He asked the girl several questions, including her age and her mother’s email. When the child’s mother attempted to approach the man, he quickly returned to his vehicle and drove away.

“He did not grab or touch her,” Fagiano said. “He took off [in the car] in the alley at a high rate of speed.”

According to the alert, the mother had a good view of the man’s vehicle and described it as a silver-colored 4-door sedan, possibly a Hyundai Elantra.

Fagiano said there was no abduction, and made sure that staff at John Mills Elementary School was aware of the incident on Monday, because the child lives on the north side of the village where the school is located. Oak Park Elementary School District 97 also emailed parents about the event.

Fagiano said last week, when the incident occurred, the school district was on spring break and the school was closed.

“The incident did not happen on school grounds,” he said. “We put an alert out due to the seriousness of the incident. Anything to do with kids, we take it seriously.”

Anyone with any information about the possible identity of the person in the composite sketch is asked to call the Elmwood Park Police Department at 708-453-2137.

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