JOINT RELEASE - NORFORK POLICE AND BAXTER COUNTY SHERIFF
On February 26th at approximately 3:45 PM, the Norfork Police Department took a complaint report from Christy Boozer at 13794 Highway 5 South in Norfork indicating that an unknown man had chased her eleven year old daughter home, then a short time later twisted the door knob and tried to enter the residence before being scared away.
The child initially told authorities that she had been home alone and was out walking her dog behind the housing complex. She said a man got out of a maroon van, crouched down, and then started walking toward her. The child said she took off running toward her residence with the man chasing her. When she reached her residence, she went inside and locked the door. Approximately 5 minutes later, the child stated there was a knock on the door and the door handle started moving. Dogs began barking, then she saw the man run away.
These allegations caused residents in the Norfork area to become alarmed that a potential child abductor was in their area, particularly since a previous similar incident had been reported to the Gassville Police Department on February 22nd. They began warning their neighbors and some even worked up a sketch of the suspect, which was then circulated around the community. Law enforcement officers from the Norfork Police Department and the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office were summoned to the area on several occasions to follow-up on leads or reported, but unconfirmed, sightings of the suspect, even launching the Sheriff’s helicopter on one occasion.
Norfork Police and Sheriff’s Investigators met on March 3rd to correlate available information and follow-up activities. On March 11th, investigators interviewed the child and her mother again. After a period of questioning, which resulted in several inconsistencies with the child’s statements, the child finally told her mother than the story was exaggerated and that no one had been trying to abduct her or harm her. The child then indicated that the only portion of the story that had been true is that someone knocked on the door but that it could have been anyone. Investigators spent approximately 15 hours on the case following leads, interviewing potential witnesses, and interviewing the child and her mother.
Although law enforcement agencies always take such reports seriously, the available information and evidence in this particular case would indicate that the attempted abduction that was initially alleged in Norfork did not take place. The law enforcement agencies involved do not intend to file any kind of charge against the child for making the accusations, however the matter is being referred to Baxter County Juvenile Services for the purpose of potentially offering any services that might be necessary.
/s/ Police Chief Jim Griffin /s/ Sheriff John Montgomery,
Norfork Police Department Baxter County Sheriff’s Office