Gates County sheriff investigating after residents report person luring children into woods

Posted at 3:13 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 16:25:28-05

GATES Co., N.C. - Residents of the tiny community of Corapeake in Gates County say they are afraid to let their kids out to go play.

This comes after they told News 3 they have spotted a man several times hiding in the woods trying to lure children in.

"In this little trailer court, there are more kids than there has been in an awful long time," said Michelle Grimes, who has lived in the Elizabeth Drive community for close to 30 years.

She says her grandkids love to play outside.

"But now I am concerned because children are being targeted more now than ever before," said Grimes.

For the last two months, she and her neighbors have been uneasy and living on edge.

"On Sunday, my little 7-year-old neighbor and another girl came screaming and got her daddy. She said a man tried to lure them into his truck," Grimes explained.

The Gates County Sheriff's Office confirmed they are investigating that incident.

"We got a call about 10:30 Sunday and were told there was a person in a yard and that person said something to two young girls. They ran away and he shouted back at him," said Sheriff Ray Campbell.

Sheriff Campbell said they got a description from residents: A white male with a gray beard and gray hair.

"We need something better because that could be hundreds of people," he explained.

Campbell says they have increased patrols and have scoured the woods for footprints or any other evidence.

"I know so many kids. They are all very special to me and whenever we have have a threat with a kid, I'm going to get involved with it," said Campbell.

Residents say they are keeping their children at arms' length right now and are keeping a watchful eye. Sheriff Campbell is asking residents to call the sheriff's office if they see anything suspicious and not to take to social media.

"There are a lot of rumors floating around that we have a man that is wanted. That is not the case. We don't have any suspects at this time; this is an active investigation," he said.