A Missouri woman said a man posing as a child welfare worker knocked on her door demanding to see her child.
Olivia Beightel told Fox2 that after she called 911 on the Department of Family Services (DFS) impostor, the man ran away.
Police confirmed they were investigating the disturbing incident, which took place last month in the city of Bourbon in the middle of the day.
Beightel, who on Instagram says “my daughter is what gets me through the day,” told the news outlet that after the fake DFS worker knocked on her door, he claimed he was following up a case and kept asking to see her child.
She wrote in a Facebook post the man first sparked her suspicion when he mentioned the apparently fake welfare check, which “caught me off guard [because] we have never had DFS come to our house! He kept insisting to come into my home.”
The man, she said, was wearing tinted glasses and had an ID badge that was flipped towards him so she couldn’t see it and “he just kept saying ‘I need to see your child.’”
“The whole thing was off,” she said. “My gut was telling me something was wrong.”
She then told the man she was going to call DFS and the police, at which point he fled.
“I could have been dead. I could have been knocked out, but my child probably would have been gone,” she told Fox2.
She said the department’s chief of police told her the man was likely an impostor and that if it had been someone from DFS, he would have been accompanied by a police officer.
“It could had been sex trafficking,” Beightel said, adding that she is sharing her story as an urgent warning to other parents.
“Please keep a lookout!” she wrote. “Especially stay home mommas!”
“Please keep the word out what’s going on! Protect our children!
Bogus Child Protective Services Workers in Washington Tried to Take Woman’s Son
The incident in Bourbon follows a similar case in Marysville, Washington, involving two Child Protective Services impostors who tried to take a little boy.
His mother told KIRO-TV that a man and a woman posing as CPS workers came to her home and tried to take her 4-year-old son.
“Said she was with CPS and that she was there about my son’s injuries and that they were to take him into protective custody,” Jessi McCombs told the station, adding that she immediately became suspicious.
McCombs told the station she asked the pair to provide proof of their association with CPS, which they refused to provide.
“My son doesn’t have any injuries, so I was really confused and thought for sure she had the wrong house until she told me his name and birthday, she knew my name,” McCombs told Q13 News.
The disturbing incident took place on the morning of Monday, Aug. 19.
“Anxiety and adrenaline just pretty much took over and I just pretty much wanted to get my son somewhere safe,” McCombs told Q13 News. “I just don’t want somebody else to end up in a situation like that or worse.”
McCombs said she refused to hand over her son, Liam.
“These people were potentially trying to just snatch my kid, so I started panicking,” McCombs told the station, adding that after she pretended to call 911, the woman said the pair would return later. McCombs said they then “left in a hurry down the stairs.”
McCombs said she later called Marysville Police, which confirmed to Q13 News that they were looking into the incident.
“It’s an open and active investigation,” said Mark Thomas from the Marysville Police Department, the station reported. Marysville police told KIRO-TV they have not received any additional reports of bogus CPS workers trying to take children in the city.
A spokesperson for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families said Child Protective Services told KIRO-TV that in cases where a child is to be removed from the home, CPS staff would be accompanied by police and carry agency identification.
There were 424,066 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center in 2018, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement they must be entered into the database. In 2017, there were 464,324 entries.
“This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, that would also be reflected in the total,” the center notes on its website.
“Unfortunately, since many children are never reported missing, there is no reliable way to determine the total number of children who are actually missing in the U.S.,” NCMEC (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children) added.
In 2018, the center said it assisted officers and families with the cases of more than 25,000 missing children. In those cases, 92 percent were endangered runaways, and 4 percent were family abductions.
The center said that it participates in the Amber Alert Program, which is a voluntary partnership between numerous entities including broadcasters, transportation agencies, and law enforcement agencies. The Amber Alert Program issues urgent bulletins in the most serious child abduction cases.
According to the NCMEC, to date, 941 children have been successfully recovered as a result of the Amber Alert Program.
The center notes that of the more than 23,500 runaways reported in 2018, about one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking.
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Author: Tom Ozimek