By Sharna Johnson
Several Quay County schools have tightened their security procedures after an attempted abduction of a 14-year-old Grady girl on Monday, school officals said.
“On Monday, Jan. 15th at 4:10 p.m. there was an attempted abduction of a 14-year-old girl who was walking to her grandmother’s house in Grady, New Mexico. The girl was able to escape unharmed,” said a press release from the Curry County Sheriff’s Office.
Grady Schools Superintendent Joel Shipley believes Monday’s report of an attempted abduction of a teenage girl in Grady was an isolated incident.
Still, he said it shows small towns aren’t immune to potentially serious crimes.
“Grady is a safe, quiet little community, but bad things can happen anywhere. The chances of something like this happening again are very, very remote,” Shipley said. “We’re trying to relay to people not to panic — take it for what it was.”
The 14-year-old girl who reported the attempted abduction attends Grady, Shipley said.
“We made sure that all students and their parents got a memo about the incident in Grady,” said Elnabeth Grau, counselor at Logan Schools. “We require people that are visitors in the schools to wear a name tag while they are around the building and we are now strictly enforcing that policy.
“We have worked with the police to have extra patrols during school hours and after school events,” she said.
Aaron McKinney, superintendent of Tucumcari Public Schools, said, “As soon as we found out what had happened, we called all of our schools’ administrators. We advised them of what happened and to notify their teaching staff.
“We received a bulletin from the New Mexico State Police detailing what had happen and that informed us more about the situation. We have been working on tighter security since the start of the year and more so now.”
“We contacted all the schools in Quay County and made them aware of the situation. We sent out a press release in order to keep them and the communities informed,” said Capt. Daniel Lopez with the New Mexico State Police. “ We are currently assisting the Curry County Sheriff’s Office with their investigation.”
Grady’s Shipley said, “All indications are it was an opportunity — a couple of men that saw someone was walking by themselves. There is no indication whatsoever that this was planned — just a wrong place, wrong time type of deal,” he said.
He said Wednesday schools in the region were notified and law enforcement has increased patrols.
The victim told police she was walking to her grandmother’s house around 4 p.m. Monday when two white men in a dark-colored, older model van attempted to abduct her, according to the release from Curry County Sheriff’s Office.
Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray Wednesday night said the case remains under investigation and there have been no arrests in connection with the case.
Grady Mayor Wesley Shafer said he plans to ask the sheriff’s department to come to their next city council meeting to talk about forming a neighborhood watch program.
“It opened up our eyeballs a little bit,” said Shafer, in his third term as mayor. “It just shows bad things can happen in a small town, too.”
Shafer said Grady had a police department up until about six years ago when it was eliminated for financial reasons.
Clovis Municipal Schools spokesman David Briseno said the incident has heightened awareness among students, teachers and parents.
“I think that being a parent myself that’s always something in the back of your mind so we’re taking extra care to make sure our kids are safe,” Briseno said.
Thomas Garcia of the Quay County Sun contributed to this report.