MARIETTA, Ga. -- Tonight the sounds of children at play fell silent in a Cobb County neighborhood.
Parents kept their children inside because of what police are calling the attempted abduction of a 6-year-old by a 10-year-old boy and the adults who were with him.
It was a disturbing incident that now has everyone in the neighborhood on edge.
The child is okay, but no one has been caught.
Police are baffled. They’ve never heard of a case in Cobb County of adults using a child as a lure for an apparent abduction of another child - until now.
Bruises on the arms of the 6-year-old boy are visible – remnants of the moments that he fought off the other boy, perhaps no older than 10.
The 6-year-old was playing in the cul-de-sac in front of his home Sunday afternoon. He told his parents and police that a car pulled up and that a man was driving with a woman who was in the passenger seat. A boy he’d never seen before got out.
Here’s what the 6-year-old told his mother, Melanie Jones, about what the other boy did:
“Got out of the car and approached him and said, ‘Can you please get in the car with me?’ My son said, no,” she said. “And when he said no, the boy took him by the arm and tried to drag him into the car.”
Her son was able to break free and run into the house.
Cobb County Police Lieutenant Nathan McCreary said the Crimes Against Children investigators interviewed the 6-year-old boy. That interview would soon lead to extra patrols in the neighborhood, and Wednesday police announced that an investigation was underway.
“As far as I know, we have never had another child be used as some type of bait for a child abduction,” McCreary said.
The child was only able to give a general description of a small, white sedan - not much for police to go on.
Detectives are now trying to develop leads.
“Shocked; petrified,” neighbors Ellen and Jeff Sayler said of their mindset, now. “It totally freaks me out,” Ellen said.
The couple said that on any normal evening the yards and street would be full of children playing. But evenings, now, are different.
“Nothing - they’re not out there,” they said. “Never had anything ever remotely like this in this area.”
Melanie Jones said she had gone over and over with her three children all of the “stranger danger” scenarios - what to do and what not to do if strangers approach.
"What if they have a puppy? What if they have a kitten?” she said she would ask her children while teaching them about what they might face. “What if they have candy; what if they have money, what if they have anything?”
It’s a lesson she’s glad she’s made clear.
"They know not to go anywhere with someone who I don't know,” she said. “So I'm just so proud of him for doing the right thing and being brave enough to do the right thing."
Police have not been able to release any descriptions of any suspects yet.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Cobb County Police Department’s Crimes Against Children’s Unit at (770) 801-3470.