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Manhunt underway after attempted kidnapping of 9-year-old Poway Unified student

The attempted kidnapping happened at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday in Carmel Mountain Ranch.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego police are searching for a man who attempted to kidnap a 9-year-old girl on Tuesday.

The attempted kidnapping happened at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The child was waiting for her mother to pick her up after school near Shoal Creek Drive and Stoney Gate Place, when a man approached her and told her to follow him, the San Diego Police Department said.

"When the child refused, the man grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her. She broke free and ran to safety," San Diego Police Department Lt. Adam Sharki said.

The suspect was described by police as possibly Hispanic, 5’11”, with a slim build. Police said he was wearing a face mask, dark pants, black shoes, and may have had a backpack at time of the attempted abduction.

The girl reported the man smelled strongly of alcohol.

Credit: CBS 8

In a letter to parents, the Poway Unified School District said in part,

We wanted to let you know that the San Diego Police Department is currently investigating a report they received that one of our students was approached by a stranger who grabbed them after school yesterday near the pedestrian bridge on Shoal Creek Drive. 

The student is safe after running to another student's family for help. Even though the student is safe this case is being characterized as a kidnapping by law enforcement because of the nature of the incident. 

We are sharing this information with the larger community, because the suspect has not yet been apprehended, and we wanted our families and staff to be on high alert, especially if your children attend/walk to and from school.

Anyone with information is asked to contact SDPD or Crime Stoppers. 

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