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Alleged attempted kidnap suspect 'no threat'

A man who allegedly approached and appeared to have frightened a young girl on her way to school Tuesday morning does not pose a threat to the community, said a spokeswoman from Kitsap Mental health.

Director of community relations Rebecca Wilson said she believes the 58-year-old KMH client, whom Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies contacted after a witness called 911 shortly after 8 a.m. to report what he believed was an attempted kidnapping near the intersection of Harris and Salmonberry roads, is not a danger to others.

Wilson said the client is in constant contact with either his case worker or others in her office while living in his apartment on Harris Road, and he would not have been chosen to reside there if he was believed to be a possible threat.

“If they’re in assisted living, they’re not dangerous,” Wilson said. “They have progressed through the system and have been deemed safe. It is not a situation where he needs to be supervised.”

According to witness Ted Sabanal, the incident began when he was driving to work on Harris Road shortly before 8 a.m. and noticed a man behaving oddly.

“He was holding a paper in front of his face, but he wasn’t reading it. He was peeking over it,” Sabanal said, explaining that at the time the man was crossing the street toward an 11-year-old girl. “She turned around and looked at him, then turned and ran.”

Sabanal said at that time he stopped his van and got out.

“It kind of freaked me out,” said Sabanal, who has two children who attend nearby East Port Orchard Elementary. “I got suspicious when she ran because I thought he was trying to lure her. I’m always on the lookout for suspicious people, and I’m very glad I was driving by.”

According to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department, soon after Sabanal’s call a deputy contacted the suspect near his residence. The man admitted to approaching the girl, but said he was only trying to show her a drawing he had made, which the deputy noted he was still holding.

According to the deputy, the man went on to say that he was not taking his medication and was “feeling weird.”

After contacting the man’s case worker, the deputy then transported him to Kitsap Mental Health’s offices in Bremerton.

Wilson described the client as a talented artist who likes to show his pictures to people when he draws them. She added that he has no adult criminal record and, as far as she remembered, there has never been a criminal incident with any of the KMH clients living in the apartments on Harris Road.

She said the client is, in fact, taking his medication, and that employees of KMH visit the residents every day to administer their medication.

“It’s more of a challenge on the long weekend,” Wilson said, “but it’s not a dangerous system in the least.”

The deputy then contacted the young girl involved in the incident at East Port Orchard Elementary School. She said she was waiting at a bus stop with her mother and sister when the man approached them and asked them “to look at his picture.”

She described the man as “creepy.”

According to the Sheriff’s Department, no criminal investigation in ongoing, nor are charges pending against the alleged suspect.

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