Manchester man charged with attempted abduction

Girl, 6, said suspect tried to lure her into pickup

February 15, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Manchester farmhand accused of trying to lure a 6-year-old Manchester girl into a pickup truck at her bus stop is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail at the county detention center.

David Lee Simpson, 32, of the 3600 block of Schalk Road No. 1 was arrested Friday evening and held without bail after being charged on counts of attempting to kidnap a minor under 16 and attempting to abduct a minor under 12.

Judge Louis A. Becker, visiting Carroll County District Court from Howard County, said he understood the parents were concerned about the safety of their daughter and other children, but that he had no authority to deny bail. He said he set a high bail out of concern for public safety and because Simpson was convicted in 1992 for a second-degree sexual offense.

In charging documents, investigators said they learned of the allegations against Simpson on Jan. 7.

The girl, a first-grader at Manchester Elementary School, is not being named to protect her privacy.

The child told investigators she got off her school bus one day before the Christmas break and a man with red hair sticking out from under his hat asked her to get into his red pickup.

She refused, but the man offered to take her to get some candy and insisted she go with him.

The girl told investigators she told the man she had homework to do, and that her mother would be angry with her if she didn't do her homework. She said she ran into her house near the bus stop, locked the door and dropped to the floor to avoid detection.

Investigators said the incident occurred on Dec. 8 and that the child did not at first tell her parents about it because she had lied about the homework to the man in the pickup and thought her parents would not approve.

In the course of a check on known sex offenders living in the area, investigators learned Simpson had red hair and had access to his employer's red pickup.

Andrew I. Alperstein, a Baltimore attorney representing Simpson, told the court yesterday that his client knew of the investigation, cooperated with police and sought counsel a week before he was arrested. He said his client had contact with the girl, telling her to watch out as his employer backed up a pickup one day in December.

Alperstein argued his client was not a flight risk and was the victim of a young child's imagination, which had been heightened by fliers handed out at school regarding strangers approaching schoolchildren in the area.

Simpson's employer was in the truck on the day in question and knew nothing about the girl or her allegations, Alperstein said.

Prosecutor Laura Kozlowski asked Becker to hold Simpson without bail, saying the elementary school sent out fliers after the girl had reported the incident.

Manchester Elementary School Principal Robert Mitchell said he sent a note home to all parents on Jan. 11, informing them that he had received two calls from parents about children being approached by strangers at bus stops.

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