Tyler ISD and the Tyler Police Department are investigating a possible attempted abduction of a 7-year-old Jack Elementary student that occurred about 3:15 or 3:20 p.m. on Friday.
According to a post made by Joseph Elliott that was later shared to Facebook, his grandson, Connor, exited the bus at the corner of Gleneagles and Hollytree Circle when a stranger asked him to "hop in" to his vehicle.
"Fortunately, Connor did the right thing but ran inside crying and scared," Elliot wrote in a post on Facebook. "We immediately called the police, and they came to the house to investigate."
Connor said the man was in his 40s or 50s, with brown hair and a goatee-like beard, according to the post. He was wearing a blue shirt and was driving a black, Jeep Wrangler-type vehicle at the time of the incident.
“I was in shock at first," Lauren Elliot, Connor's mother, said in an interview with Tyler Morning Telegraph. "I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s like that cliche thing, you never expect it to happen to you until it does. It could’ve been much, much worse.”
Lauren says that she feels "more paranoid now and cautious" about letting her son walk from the school bus and across their yard by himself. She and her parents plan to wait by the front door from now on. Connor, she says, has been extremely resilient.
Tyler ISD posted a notice Monday morning detailing the situation.
The district is working with the Tyler ISD Police Department and Tyler PD, and has handed over the school bus video for their investigation. Tyler PD said Monday they could not share any further details until footage of the incident was reviewed.
"We would encourage parents, when they can, to be available around bus drop off time," Tyler ISD said. "Also, we would encourage all parents to have a conversation with their children about 'Stranger Danger' and what to do if something like this happens to them."
Lauren also urged parents to have conversations with their children about what to do in dangerous scenarios — she fully believes their planning may have saved Connor from a "predator."
The ISD said bus drivers will continue to keep an eye out for strange vehicles and individuals in the area.
If any parent has a particular concern, they should feel free to contact the Tyler ISD PD at 903-262-1111.