UPDATED 5:54 p.m. Friday. A suspect arrested Thursday morning for the attempted kidnapping of a 13-year old boy will not be charged, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.
Javier Benetiz Garcia, 56, was arrested at 7 a.m. Thursday and booked at the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's station. The District Attorney refused to file charges because of a lack of evidence that Garcia is the actual suspect.
The victim was walking north on Camp Plenty Road near Soledad Canyon Road when he was approached by a man he described as as a male Hispanic in his late 30s. The victim escaped by running toward Sierra Vista Junior High School, where he is a student.
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School officials reported the incident and deputies immediately began a search of the area, looking for the compact car that they boy described.
Sierra Vista Principal Mark Crawford kept in touch with parents of his students, sending an email out Thursday advising them of the arrest and thanking them for being vigilant. The morning of the attempt, he also sent this message:
“Early this morning, well before the beginning of school, there was an incident involving one of our students as he was walking to campus. The student was unharmed and is safe. The Sheriff Department was contacted immediately and they are currently investigating the incident. The student did the correct thing by running away from the situation and coming directly to school.
Safety of our students is the #1 priority here at Sierra Vista. With that in mind, please exercise the following safety tips for coming to and from school:
- When walking to school always have your student walk with a friend or group.
- When driving your student to school, make sure your drop off/pick up point is as close to campus as possible.
- And finally, try to make sure your drop off/pick up times are as close to the beginning or end of the school day as possible.
By working together and following these safety tips, we can best ensure the safest possible environment for our students.”