Tourists on Alert Following Attempted Abductions

June 12, 2018, 10:51 am EST | Share:

GARDEN CITY, SC (ASHLEY GOODEN, WPDE-TV) — Two attempted abductions that happened on the beach in broad daylight have tourists on high alert. Police are still on the hunt for the person responsible and are working to improve jogger safety.

A morning jog on the beach is part of a routine in Garden City for visitors and tourists alike.

“I’ve been jogging the last couple of days, enjoying the sun and trying to take off those extra winter pounds,” said Kenneth Grant.

But on Sunday, an enjoyable jog turned into a nightmare for a woman vacationing in Garden City, just outside Murrells Inlet.

In a Facebook post shared more than a thousand times, Stacey Starnes posed with a sketch of the suspect and said “Yes, I was the victim of an attempted abduction this morning. I am okay, scared to death.”

Grant said this was the first time he heard about the abduction attempt, but naturally, it makes him more cautious.

“Pretty scary. But they say you are supposed to be vigilant,” he said.

A Georgetown County police report says a woman told police the man approached her near the intersection of Moonfish and South Waccamaw Drive and reach toward her, trying to grab her arm.

She told police she yelled at him and then ran away, hiding under the porch of a nearby home until she saw her husband and ran back to where they were staying.

The woman’s fitness tracker helped police find the route where it all happened.

While they were visitors, the people who live in the area have concerns, too. “We would love for him to be apprehended as quickly as possible,” said Deborah Beasley. “This is not something that happens in our community and we do have a neighborhood watch through some social media sites.”

Beasley and other members of the group are working to piece together whatever clues they can to help investigators.

She says they are a tight-knit group. “Contacted my runners who I know run on a regular basis. But what you don’t have any control over are the ones staying here. It was unfortunate she was running on the first day of her vacation.”

Starnes’ post says she plans to try and enjoy the rest of her vacation. But in the meantime, investigators need you to keep your eyes open.

The suspect is described as a late to middle-aged white man with dark hair and a tan complexion. He is about 5’8″ tall and a slightly heavy build. He was wearing no shirt and black shorts, according to an incident report.