NORTH SALT LAKE — Ten-year-old Alisha and 8-year-old Sadie Dellenbaugh say they had a terrifying experience at the park last week when a man tried to abduct one of them.
The girls told police that a man grabbed Sadie at Palmquist Park at 17 North Valley View Drive, according to Sgt. Matthew Gwilliam with the North Salt Lake Police Department. The incident took place between 7:30 and 7:45 p.m.
As they were playing on the slides and swings, a "strange man" dressed entirely in black and wearing a black mask approached them. They tried to run away and jump over a nearby wall, but little Sadie couldn't move.
"He grabbed me on my wrist and covered my mouth," she said.
Alisha said she tried to pull her sister away, but the man was too strong. So she picked up her empty Dr. Pepper bottle and "popped him in the mouth with it, and he slowly backed away."
According to police, no adults were in the immediate area at the time.
The girls said they ran to a nearby friend's house.
"From a safety standpoint, parents should always be vigilant in making sure that they know exactly where, when and what their children are doing," Gwilliam said.
He also said that there are periodic complaints about similar incidents, but that it is difficult to tell who may be involved given the vague description. The last similar attempted abduction occurred about a month ago, he said.
Mother Branidi Dallenbaugh said that she had prepared her girls for this kind of emergency. Alisha agrees.
"If you don't really know the guy and he's trying to grab someone, that means that he's trying to steal you," she said.
Police do not have a suspect at this time. The girls say he was with another man in his late 40s or early 50s with gray hair.
Anyone with information is asked to call North Salt Lake Police at (801) 335-8650.