Newburgh child kidnap report false, cops say
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A day after Newburgh city police issued an Amber Alert for a girl reportedly abducted at South Middle School and forced into a pickup truck, they determined that the report wasn't true.
"There is no indication that the abduction or any incident that could be perceived as an abduction had occurred," Newburgh Lt. Det. Dan Cameron said in a statement Thursday.
Police already had canceled the Amber Alert by Thursday morning, saying that no one had come forward to file a missing persons report on the 5- or 6-year-old girl and that the only reports were made by a group of children ages 5-11.
The children told their parents the girl was carried into a truck by two men who pulled up near South Junior High School on Monument Street shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday. Parents then alerted police. The vehicle was described as black, with green writing on the sides.
Cameron said video evidence reviewed by police showed no evidence of an abduction.
"We have thoroughly reviewed South Middle School's surveillance video, the City of Newburgh street camera videos and privately owned surveillance systems," Cameron said. "There was no pickup truck, other vehicle or small child during the time of the reported incident."
"The reporting children were observed playing around the school without incident," the statement continued. We "have closed our investigation."
Cameron defended the decision to issue the alert: "The information obtained at the time fit the criteria for an Amber Alert," he said. "The Amber Alert broadcasted a vehicle description, the child's description and suspect description ... we believe that had this been a true abduction, our efforts in locating a child were extremely enhanced."
The FBI, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,the Orange County district attorney's office and the New York State Police had been working on the case.
Newburgh police Det. Joe Rutigliano told Newsday that police "have no idea" why the abduction report was made and wouldn't speculate on whether the children or their parents were committing a hoax. He said police would not consider charges or other action against the parents or children involved.
"We did our due diligence," Rutigliano said. "We don't want to get anyone in trouble, based on the ages of the kids."