Police: Girl abducted at school bus stop, citizens band together

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Clergy from east Columbus announced a new organization Thursday night, aimed at protecting children in the area.

This comes in the wake of multiple abductions in that area in the last two weeks.

The Columbus Police Department sex crimes division confirmed to News Leader Nine on Thursday that the latest abduction did occur while a 14 year old girl was waiting for her school bus at the intersection of R.C. Allen Drive and Steam Mill Road.

Over the past two weeks, the news has spread quickly, leading to project "LOV," or love our children.

It's an effort supported by Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren.

"This is a gigantic neighborhood watch program, to protect the children," Boren said.

It's a combined effort by the clergy members, law enforcement, and citizens to create an organization charged at stopping every parent's worst nightmare.

It's chairman is Randy Stephen, II of Forrest Park Baptist Church.

"This is a we, a community issue, all of us are involved," Stephen said.

"The phrase is coming out, all hands on deck. We're looking for every part of our community to be actively engaged in the protection of our children," Stephen said.

Both of the children recently targeted were students at East Columbus Magnet Academy.

Principal Kevin Scott gave an emotional plea to parents and city officials, with hopes it won't happen again.

The new community-driven program, combined with an increased presence by law enforcement, is the solution according to Columbus' Police Chief.

"It's going to take law enforcement, as well as every set of eyes and ears in our community, of our citizens to solve problems like this that exist in the community," Boren said.

The next step is a town hall meeting, where parents can express concerns to officials about the program.

There, more specific measures will be taken to mobilize the organization's efforts.

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