Surveillance video may show young girl's kidnapper; police still seeking suspect

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Police are still looking for a man suspected of kidnapping a 7-year-old girl Saturday from North Minneapolis before dropping her back off a few blocks away about two hours later.

A man approached the girl and her friends, who were playing outside of a home on the 3100 block of James Avenue North, and asked her to help him look for a lost puppy. The girl left with the man, but was dropped back off a few hours later.

Now Renita Sangster, the mother of the girl who was kidnapped, is asking the public to watch surveillance video captured by a neighbor that may show the suspect talking with her daughter, KARE 11 says.

The video (below) shows a man in a dark-colored coat approaching some young girls, and then a girl in a white coat (what the victim in this case was described as wearing) following the man.

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Police haven't confirmed the legitimacy of the surveillance video, but FOX 9 says they do have a copy of it.

Annette Beaty's granddaughters were with the girl and her younger sister when she went with the stranger to find his dog. Beaty said her granddaughter described the man as looking "scary," having "pink blotches on his face" and gray hair, according to the Star Tribune. He's also described as a white man in his 30s, reports note.

Using a puppy or another animal is "the oldest luring trick in the book," police told the family, according to the Star Tribune. Officials mentioned a similar incident not long ago in the same neighborhood. The victim in that incident was dropped off at a nearby supermarket, the newspaper says.

Kidnapping by strangers a rare occurrence

Police told WCCO stranger abductions are very rare.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says in 1999 (the most recent year for data) approximately 800,000 children younger than 18 were reported missing.

Of those, 200,000 children were abducted by family members, while about 58,200 were abducted by non-family members (including friends, acquaintances and strangers) and involve lesser forced movement or detention compared to "stereotypical" kidnappings.

A "stereotypical" kidnapping involves a child being held overnight, transported 50-plus miles, killed, ransomed, or held with intent to keep the child permanently. An estimated 115 children in 1999 were victims of "stereotypical" kidnapping, the report notes.

The FBI National Crime Information Center says there were 84,136 active missing person records in 2013 – about 40 percent of which were children under the age of 18. The circumstances regarding a missing person doesn't have to be noted, the FBI says, and of the 627,911 total records entered in 2013 only about half the time was a circumstance recorded.

Of those cases with a Missing Person Circumstance in 2013, 95.8 percent were coded as "runaway." About 0.8 percent were coded as abducted by non-custodial parent, and only 0.1 percent – that's 335 people – were coded as abducted by a stranger.

There are no specific statistics on the number of kidnapping cases in Minnesota, but the Department of Public Safety notes there were 21 instances of "other offenses" in the state in 2013, which encompasses abduction, kidnapping, polygamy, bribery and blackmail, among many other categories.

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