Police Searching For Man Who Rushed Girl, Then Fled Scene

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Police searched west Payson Monday afternoon after an 8-year-old girl reported a man ran at her with a leash.

The girl was reportedly playing outside a friend’s house on West Frontier Street when a man, dressed in all black, ran toward her, said Payson Police Chief Don Engler.

The girl told police she screamed and the man told her to shut up.

Just then, the girl’s friends came around a corner of the home and the man fled up a nearby driveway. The girl said the man was carrying a rope or leash over his shoulder and she thought he was going to abduct her.

Officers searched throughout the area, but could not locate the man.

A K-9 from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office searched for tracks, but offered no new clues to the man’s whereabouts, Engler said. Initially, there was some concern the man may have been the ex-husband of someone associated with the girl or the family she was staying with, but that was unfounded, Engler said.

“We called out a detective who worked on the case quite a bit,” he said. “We did follow-up interviews, but we never found anyone.”

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