Three weeks after the Vancouver Police asked for the public’s help with an investigation that allegedly involved a young girl being lured away from a school playground and sexually assaulted, investigators now say there’s no evidence that the attack actually happened.
On December 12, police issued a bulletin saying a six-year-old female student was lured away from a playground at Sexsmith Elementary School on Columbia and West 59th Avenue by a stranger who sexually assaulted her – before walking the young girl back to the school.
The alleged attack on December 5 prompted outrage from parents and people living in the neighbourhood, concerned about the safety of the school, and the protection of its students during playtime outside.
The VPD said its detectives spoke to the victim, and officers pleaded for people who may have seen something to come forward.
But on Friday, Sgt. Jason Robillard said the force has found “no evidence to-date” to corroborate the claim that the girl was lured off the school grounds.
“A team of detectives from the VPD’s Sex Crimes Unit and Youth Services Section have investigated tips from the public, interviewed staff and students, canvassed neighbourhoods, and obtained and reviewed numerous pieces of video footage, and have been unable to corroborate the information initially provided to police,” he said in a statement sent to media.
The VPD said it was an important update for parents, staff, students and the broader community to be aware of.
“Investigating any allegation that affects one’s personal safety, especially the health and safety of a child, is a priority for the Vancouver Police,” he said.