HERMISTON -- The Hermiston Police Department says social media has spread misinformation about reports of kidnappings in the community, as the agency investigates three separate reported incidents since June 15, according to a news release.
Two incidents occurred at the same large retail business, with one involving a suspicious male speaking briefly with a child before walking away. The other involved a woman attempting to walk away with another woman's shopping cart holding a 9-month-old child before being stopped.
The third incident was reported Wednesday in the 200 block of Southwest Butte Drive, when a 12-year-old girl reportedly was approached by a suspicious male in a white van. He reportedly got out of the van and walked toward the girl but she ran into a neighbor's home.
"Social medial can be an incredible tool for law enforcement to utilize," said Hermiston police Chief Jason Edmiston in the release. "Unfortunately, it can also lead to misinformation.
"If we had pertinent information that led us to believe abductions were attempted, we would at a minimum issue a public alert seeking assistance. We are not at that point based on what has been reported to us."