ISU students on edge after rumors of abduction attempts, police say no ‘substantiated claims’ exist

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NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Police in the twin cities responded to rumors Monday night and Tuesday of attempted abductions on and near the Illinois State University campus.

Rumors have spread on social media regarding “attempted abductions” and suspicious people near the ISU campus in the past week. Despite police having said there are few official claims, students are worried.

“They’re not even rumors. They have happened to people that I know,” said student Annika Cole.

Cole said she and other students are on edge with the rumored abduction attempts.

“I’m short and petite so I don’t feel safe at all,” Cole said.

Students are sharing experiences of suspicious men on and near the ISU campus targeting women, she said. Students said the men are driving around in a silver van, and Cole said she’s heard about it in person from friends.

“Personal experience, I know two women, friends, that have had it happen to them and to my knowledge [they] have reached out to police regarding these,” Cole said.

Illinois State University Police Chief Aaron Woodruff said the department has not had any official reports about a vehicle.

Both the ISU Police Department and Normal Police Department addressed the rumors on Facebook, and said there are no “substantiated claims” at this time and that there isn’t a current threat to the public.

Brad Park, Community Resources Officer for the Normal Police Department, said they’ve only received one report regarding an incident Monday night.

“Our officers arrived on scene [and] spoke with the victim, but at that point, we didn’t really have any type of evidence or anything to verify that it was, in fact, an abduction attempt,” Park said.

Park added that students who witness or have been victims of suspicious activity should call Normal PD or 911.

“We take all of our reports very seriously and we want to investigate those to the level that we can investigate those,” Park said.

But, students still want more to be done.

“Definitely have more police activity around the area because, since last night, I haven’t seen one police officer,” Cole said.

ISU Police recommend using the buddy system when walking at night or use the Safe Redbirds app.

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