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Luring incident in Langley: Police have vehicle, suspect descriptions

UPDATE: Police have now said the reported luring incident was simply a misunderstanding.

Langley police continue to investigate a report of a couple who tried to lure a 10-year-old girl into their car Wednesday morning while she was on her way to school.

The girl, a fourth-grader at South Whidbey Elementary School, was waiting at a school bus stop at Second and Anthes streets when two strangers told her school buses weren't running today and offered her a ride to school.

Langley Police Chief Bob Herzberg said the incident occurred at 8:30 a.m.

Herzberg said the student said a "clean, gold hatchback" car was heading up the hill, traveling south on Anthes Avenue on the way out of town, when the driver crossed the double-yellow line and parked next to the curb, facing the wrong way on Anthes Avenue.

The driver was described as an adult woman with a dark complexion, dark brown and wavy hair, and somewhat overweight. A man with a dark complexion and short gray hair was sitting in the passenger seat, and both had accents. Both were in their 60s, according to the student.

"The female asked what school she went to," Herzberg said, and when the girl said South Whidbey Elementary, the driver asked if that was the school on Maxwelton Road.

"Then the female told her that the school buses weren't running and she would give her a ride if she'd like," Herzberg said. "She said no and they drove away."

A woman dropping off another student at the bus stop arrived just after the suspicious car drove away, and the girl told the woman what had happened. They went to the woman's place of work and called police.

"This isn't anybody that we know of," Herzberg said, adding that police don't know if the people were just passing through Langley, or if it was a misguided attempt by a couple who wanted to help the student.

Still, he called it "alarming" and said such incidents were rare on South Whidbey.

Officials in the Oak Harbor and Coupeville school districts were notified of the incident. Herzberg said a volunteer was also calling private schools on Whidbey Island.

"We're not trying to panic people, we're trying to protect our community," Herzberg said. "We need our community to be aware that something very suspicious occurred, and that parents should talk to their kids and tell them to be careful."

The Langley Police Department will also put out a Western Washington bulletin to notify other agencies of the incident.

Anyone with information can call the Langley Police Department at 221-4433.

A letter to parents describing the event was sent home with students today.

School district officials also said they sent out an alert to all parents on the district's emergency communication system.

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