A North Carolina man attempted to kidnap two preschool students shortly after noon on Wednesday in Chapel Hill. He would have succeeded with his sinister intentions if not for the timely and decisive interventions of teachers and officers.
The man was accused of grabbing two students and attempting to pull them over the fence of Montessori Academy preschool in Chapel Hill. Teachers quickly came to the defense of the students and disrupted the man’s act of abducting the preschoolers. The suspect fled, but officers caught up with him only a short distance from the school and arrested him.
The suspect was identified as Richard Donnel Mangum, 48. He has been charged with two counts of simple assault, two counts of communicating threats, and two counts of child abduction.
A caller contacted the police about a suspicious person at the Montessori Academy preschool at 1510 E.Franklin Street. The concerned caller said the man had walked to the fence around the school and started threatening to harm the students. Chapter Hill police officers quickly responded to the scene of the incident.
Mangum grabbed two students and tried to pull them over the fence, but teachers came to the children’s rescue.
Officials say children ages 1 to 6 attend the school. It is not clear whether Mangum targeted the two children in a planned abduction case, or he just randomly pulled them. It is also not yet clear if there were security lapses on the part of the school that made it possible for the suspect to even attempt to abduct the children, and get close to at least two of them, enough to grab them.
No reports were given yet also on the condition off the two children Mangum tried to abduct, and what assistance the school has provided them and their parents following the potentially traumatic incident.
Mangum is in jail on a $40,000 secured bond.