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Sheriff says Ovid incident involving child was misunderstanding, exacerbated by language barrier

In an update on Christmas Eve Seneca County Sheriff Tim Luce says the driver of the vehicle involved in a suspicious incident on December 12th has been located.

The incident took place on South Main Street, and was reported shortly after a series of attempted abductions in the city of Geneva last week.

Sheriff Luce says investigators have determined that the incident was not related to those in Geneva; and was a misunderstanding exacerbated by a language barrier.

Sheriff Luce extended his thanks to the many citizens that stepped up to assist in the case by providing information and added safety measures for area children.

The Sheriff urges citizens to continue reporting any suspicious incidents immediately so they can be investigated in a timely manner.


UPDATE: Photos of truck involved in suspicious Ovid incident released

Surveillance footage provided by the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office.

Seneca County Sheriff Tim Luce says his office continues to investigate a suspicious incident, which took place on December 12th.

On Saturday, his office released surveillance footage of the vehicle involved in the incident where a young child was approached on South Main Street in the village of Ovid around 11:15 a.m.

It was reported after several suspicious incidents in Geneva last week where kids between the ages of 11- and 13-years-old were approached by an unknown male assailant.

While the search continues for the individual involved in those incidents in Geneva – investigators in Seneca County said the following about the truck involved in the Ovid incident where a Hispanic male attempted to engage in a conversation with a 12-year-old.

Authorities described the conversation as a means to lure the child.

Now, photos of the truck involved have been released. Sheriff Luce said the following in an update to the media:

“Investigators have discovered that the suspicious vehicle was a tractor trailer with a maroon power unit and a white trailer with the words of “E-Way Express LLC” on the side. E-Way Express is a nationwide company that is based out of the State of Missouri and Investigators have been in communication with their ownership to determine who the driver was at the time of the incident. The following pictures are also being distributed to the media in an attempt to assist Investigators in determining who the driver was. The male driver was described as a Hispanic male with short brown hair, blue jeans, white t-shirt, and an orange/reddish-colored jacket.”

Luce says the tractor-trailer drove southbound on Main Street through the village of Ovid, and drove northbound through the village about 15 minutes later.

“If anyone has information on the identity of the driver, they are urged to call the Seneca County 911 Center at (315) 539-9241,” Luce added. His office also urged citizens that no criminal charges have been lodged at this time. They ask that the public not confront the driver – if they encounter him.

“If a tractor trailer similar to the one depicted is encountered, the Sheriff’s Office asks that you relay the license plate number, description, and location to authorities. The investigation is ongoing and Investigators are only seeking to interview the driver at this time,” a release added.

More Photos


School officials react after student approached in South Seneca; authorities uncertain if related to Geneva incidents

Deputies say they’re investigating an incident involving a child being approached near the South Seneca Junior/Senior High School on December 12th.

The Seneca County Sheriff’s Office called the incident ‘suspicious’ and said that it happened around 11:15 a.m. on South Main Street. They say a 12-year-old male reported that he was approached by a Hispanic male with short brown hair wearing blue jeans, a white shirt, and a orange-reddish jacket.

Deputies say the Hispanic male allegedly attempted to engage the twelve year old male into conversation and it appears that he tried to lure him into a box van. The box van was described to be burgundy-colored in the front and white in the back with green lettering with a big upper case letter of “E” that stood out to the child.

Sheriff Luce says investigators are working with members of the Geneva Police Department to determine if it’s connected to the recent rash of events and an attempted abduction.

He added that residents should remain vigilant, be aware of their surroundings, and avoid walking alone. Deputies and investigators will be adding police presence during dismissal in the coming days.

Luce says that the incident was delayed in being reported to the media due to the fact that authorities did not learn about it immediately.

The following message was shared with parents and community members in the South Seneca Central School District:

Dear South Seneca Community,

As reported today in the press, we have just become aware of an incident from last week reported by a school- age child in the immediate vicinity of our Middle-High School. After speaking directly with law enforcement on the status of the investigation, it is important to know that every piece of reported detail is included in the Sheriff’s press release (duplicated below), including the unfortunate delay in the reporting itself.

We at the school are working closely now with law enforcement to aid in the investigation, and we reiterate the Sheriff’s reminder to remain vigilant, and to report anything suspicious as quickly as possible. We will be working with the police to share any new information as it becomes available.

Sincerely,
Stephen Parker Zielinski Superintendent

The Penn Yan Police Department offered the following statement after the recent rash of attempted abductions in Seneca and Ontario counties:

“The Penn Yan Police Department is aware of incidents in neighboring communities involving potential attempted child abductions. There is no indication of this activity going on in Penn Yan. However, it is important for students, parents, and school staff to remain vigilant. Children should be aware of safe places they can get to and what they should do in such an event. The police department will be stepping up patrols at drop off and pick up. In an emergency call 911 or the Penn Yan Police Department.”

Seneca Falls Central School District Superintendent Bob McKeveny released the following statement:

As you may be aware, the city of Geneva has experienced concerns regarding children being approached and/or spoken to by strangers as they travel to and from school during the past few days.  We also received information from the Seneca County Sheriff that a similar concern occurred in the South Seneca CSD area last week.  Given these reports, the Seneca County Sheriff has issued a press release advising parents and students to exercise caution and greater awareness in walking to and from school.

This message is to urge parents to speak with your children about safety procedures, be aware of surroundings, and avoid walking alone to and from school at this time. 

While we have received no reports of such concerns in Seneca Falls, this message is to make all aware and encourage communication.  We will be doing the same thing here at school. 

I have also been made aware that SFPD officers will provide greater patrol and supervision of walking routes over the next few days.

Thanks for your attention to this reminder.  If your child encounters situations involving strangers on their way to and from school, they should call or inform you, the school, and/or law enforcement as soon as possible.

Thanks for your assistance as we reinforce safety procedures with our children.

– Bob McKeveny, Superintendent

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