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Police have 'camera phone' tip for parents after abductions

By Caleb James
Published On: Oct 09 2012 06:49:33 PM CDT

Caleb James reports.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

On Monday night, police in Cody, Wyoming found an 11-year-old girl wandering alone down a rural road hours after she was reported missing.

Police believe she had been sexually assaulted at gunpoint after climbing into a car with a man who asked for help finding his puppy.

The kidnapping comes as police in Westiminster, Colorado continue to search for a 10-year-old girl missing since Friday.

Police said the most important thing right now is for parents to practice extreme vigilance.

If worse comes to worse, preparations can make all the difference:

In Idaho Falls, mom Misty Mecham said she never lets her kids get too far out of her sight.

"I usually always have them around where I can see them," said Mecham.

It's a good start, said Bonneville Sheriff sergeant Jeff Edwards, but constant monitoring it isn't always possible.

"Unfortunately, we as parents need to adapt a little bit," said Edwards.

Edwards said even amidst the fear, kids can still be kids.

"But parents need to step up and do a few more things to make sure their kids are safe," he added.

Edwards said in the worse case scenario, if a child does go missing, parents can assist in the search for a missing child with one simple daily habit, and a cell phone.

"Every day your child leaves for school, take a picture of them with your phone," said Edwards.

At the end of the day, if something does happen, that daily photo could save your child's life.

"Sometimes it's tough to be told you need to work a little harder, but we do as parents need to work a little harder," said Edwards.

Edwards also said parents need to remind their kids that adults do not ever need help from a kid.

Meantime, in Cody, Wyoming, police have a description of the suspect in the kidnapping.

The man's vehicle is described as a white SUV, possibly a Suburban, with two seats up front and a mattress on the floor in the back. Police think the man may be living out of the SUV.

There is no license plate number, but there may be a black and red backpack and package of water bottles tied to the roof.

The man behind the wheel was described as white, 55 to 60-years-old, 6 feet tall and weighs 185 to 200 pounds. He has short strawberry blonde or white hair and a neatly trimmed mustache or beard. He was wearing a brown shirt, blue jeans and a tan baseball cap.

If you have information about the suspect you can call it in to Cody police at 307-527-8700.

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