SAN ANTONIO — Editor's Note: This story involves details and previous reporting about claims by a New Braunfels summer camp counselor about a thwarted kidnapping attempt which occurred on June 11. On June 24, city officials said an investigation discovered those claims to be false.
It was a calm afternoon in the small town of Bandera, but for one grandmother, her mind is still reeling from the chaos that unfolded several days ago.
“You wonder why… what are they doing? What’s the point of them being there? What are their intentions?" Laurie Blanchard said.
She's referring a thwarted kidnapping incident involving her granddaughter. According to the Bandera County Sheriff's Office, someone tried to pick up the young girl last Wednesday from a daycare in the Pipe Creek area. The suspect somehow knew her name.
“It’s a very close-knit family so there’s no reason for them to be there," Blanchard said.
Days later, Blanchard heard about a similar attempt in New Braunfels, where police said two people tried to pick up two kids from a city-run camp without permission.
Blanchard decided to warn daycares in the area, and told others what happened to her family.
“This is something you can’t be quiet about," Blanchard said. "This is something you have to tell people what’s going on. It’s for the protection of the children.”
Below is a statement from the New Braunfels Police Department:
"The New Braunfels Police Department did take a report for a possible Attempted Kidnapping on Friday afternoon as a summer camp at Fischer Park was releasing children for the day. The incident remains under investigation by the NBPD Criminal Investigations Division. While we understand the cause for concern in the community, residents are urged to be patient while investigators gather the facts of the case, and that information will be shared as soon as possible without hindering the investigation.
"In the meantime, NBPD would like to remind all residents of New Braunfels to always remain vigilant about their surroundings (whether at home, work, or school) and we always encourage you to call 911 (or our non-emergency number at 830-221-4100) if you ever see any suspicious activity or behavior. We also encourage residents to follow NBPD’s social media pages on Facebook and Twitter as well as the City of New Braunfels website for updates on this and future investigations."
Below is a statement from the Bandera County Sheriff's Office:
"In the afternoon of June 9, 2021, there was an unauthorized attempt to pick up a child from a daycare center in the Pipe Creek area. The suspect was unknown to the staff at the daycare facility and was refused access. The staff at the daycare center notified the child’s parents who stated that they did not know anyone that matched the description of suspect.
"Description of the suspect was a white or hispanic male, dark hair, possible brown eyes, with a very "weathered" face. Approximately 6' tall and 225 lbs, missing a tooth on the left side of his face and his teeth being "jagged" on the right side of his face. Suspect was wearing a white with black stripes "semi-dress" long sleeved shirt. Possible vehicle description was a silver car with a "spoiler" on the back, or a white SUV with a dent on the passenger side door that may extend into the quarter panel. Parents should ensure that the daycare facility that they use has a current list of persons permitted to pick up their children. Anyone with information on this occurrence is urged to notify the Bandera County Sheriff’s Office at 830-796-3771."
Blanchard worries about the similarities in both incidents.
"They’re connected. Human trafficking," Blanchard said.
The New Braunfels Police Department did not provide a description of the suspect.
Blanchard said she wants to see justice and plans to continue telling others about her experience.
“I don’t want them to hurt another person," Blanchard said. "Another child or make another person go through what we’ve gone through.”