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No arrests made in attempted child abduction cases, police rule out suspect
Mirror staff reports
A little over a week after two separate attempted child abduction incidents at Brigadoon Elementary School, police still haven't made any arrests.
"In addition to the leads from the public, the detective has eliminated several local registered sex offenders and is continuing to receive support from other (law enforcement) agencies on similar crimes," Federal Way Police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said in an email. "The effort is on-going."
But one person of interest Federal Way police eliminated late Tuesday morning was Michael Sean Stanley, a registered sex offender who escaped from Canada last week.
An email from Schrock Monday night named Stanley as a "person of interest" in the Federal Way abduction cases and said the detective working the case had received approximately 10 tips that led to the identification of Stanley as a possible person of interest.
But Det. Michael Coffey confirmed Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that Stanley was in Canada at the time of the abduction attempts in Federal Way. He crossed the border in Blaine, Wash. on the evening of Oct. 7.
"This information eliminates Stanley as a person of interest," Schrock wrote in an email.
According to a story from the Associated Press, Stanley was allowed to cross the border after authorities determined that he was a United States citizen and not the subject of an extraditable arrest warrant, a U.S. law enforcement official told the AP on Oct. 11.
Stanley has a long history of sexual offenses against women and children and has been missing since Oct. 1, when he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet around the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary in Canada, according to authorities. Two weeks ago, schools in several Saskatchewan communities locked their doors and kept children inside after police got multiple, unconfirmed sightings of Stanley, according to the AP.
The first incident in Federal Way occurred around 5:20 p.m. Oct. 5. According to police, an 8-year-old female was crossing the play field at Brigadoon Elementary, 3601 SW 336th St., when an unknown male asked her if she wanted candy.
The girl told him no and attempted to run away. The male grabbed the girl from behind when she stumbled. She escaped after scratching and biting the male's hands, police said.
The male was described as Hispanic, between ages 30 and 50. He was wearing a sideways "reddish/purple" baseball hat, along with a red bandana around his neck. He was also wearing a blue T-shirt, tight tan-colored pants and black shoes.
The second incident occurred around 11:30 a.m. Oct. 6. According to police, a 7-year-old boy reported that a similar male suspect attempted to grab him near the same location near Brigadoon. The boy reported that the male fled the area on foot. A K-9 unit search turned up negative.
According to an email sent to the Mirror, the girl's mother said police didn't arrive at their home until 7 p.m., approximately an hour and 40 minutes following first incident on Oct. 5.
"We met with officers at the school to give the report where it happened," the mother wrote. "Due to her age (and my shock), the sketch artist appointment was scheduled for the next day, so she could relax and be fresh-minded. She was very brave and collected and I am proud of her and her friends for rushing back to her when she screamed. I'm sure their re-appearance helped the creep decide to give up."
According to the mother, the interview took two hours and the drawing and editing of a police sketch of the suspect took almost four hours to complete. The sketch was released by the Federal Way Police Department on Monday afternoon, nearly two days after the first incident.
When dealing with younger victims, the process for obtaining facts often takes longer than with more mature victims, according to Schrock.
"Public safety is always the number one priority," Schrock told The Mirror in an email. "There is a critical balance between immediately distributing information, and taking the necessary time to evaluate facts to prevent unnecessary panic."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Michael Coffey at (253) 835-6777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.