Hancock County

Was a child taken or was someone just walking home? Cops are investigating.

Hancock sheriff’s officials and Waveland police investigate a report of a child abduction Monday night in the woods west of the Waveland Wal-Mart.
Hancock sheriff’s officials and Waveland police investigate a report of a child abduction Monday night in the woods west of the Waveland Wal-Mart. wmuller@sunherald.com File

After responding to a report of a possible child abduction near the Waveland Wal-Mart, authorities believe a witness may have seen a man grabbing a child and walking through the woods to a nearby apartment complex.

Hancock County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Don Bass said officials received a third-party report of a girl being abducted from the store about 7:30 p.m.

Waveland Police Chief David Allen said a woman flagged down a sheriff’s deputy and told him she saw a man take a girl by her hair into the woods from the parking lot. The witness told authorities the girl appeared to be about 7 years old.

No one has come forward to report their child missing, Allen said.

As authorities searched the woods Monday night, Bass said a Waveland officer saw a man and approached him. The man, who did not have a child with him, saw the police officer and ran. The officer chased him, but the man got away, Bass said. By 10 p.m., the man was still at large.

Authorities said the alleged kidnapping occurred on the woods line to the west of Wal-Mart and not in the actual parking lot. Surveillance footage from the store did not record anything regarding it.

However, the description of the man given by the witness matches surveillance footage of a man pulling on car doors in the parking lot about the same time the alleged abduction was reported.

Police formed a perimeter around the Wal-Mart property and the woods with the help of a canine search team. At 10 p.m., authorities still had not found a child or received a report of a missing child.

There are several paths through the woods that lead to the nearby apartment complex. Residents of that complex often walk through the wooded area to get to and fom the store.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller

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