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Police Investigate "Suspicious Incident" Involving Sutherland Middle School Student

November 20, 2013

The parents of a 13-year-old student at Sutherland Middle School in Albemarle County filed a police report last week, after the teen told her parents about a strange incident. The student was walking from her home in the Forest Lakes neighborhood to school, when she noticed a man appear out of the woods and begin to follow her. She told investigators she pulled out her cell phone and the man turned around and walked away.

An email circulated among parents in the neighborhood warning them about the incident, calling it an "attempted abduction". Albemarle County police are investigating the incident, calling it suspicious, but also clarifying that no criminal act took place.

"This was more of a suspicious circumstance than an attempted abduction," said Officer Peter Mainzer. "There was no conversation between the male subject and the teenager. There was never any overt action or attempt to physically grab or have any kind of contact with this teen."

Police say the family was correct to call police, as investigators continue to monitor the situation. Officers have encouraged students who walk to school in the area to use the buddy system and be aware of their surroundings.

Albemarle County school officials say they are aware of the incident. Staff and administrators at Sutherland Middle School have been advised to be heightened alert.

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