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.
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"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."