Search continues for suspicious van, Two young children approached

Okeechobee mom helps young girl in trouble

Scarlett Litener recalls the knock on the door last Thursday afternoon. It was her 11-year-old neighbor.

 

"Ayudame, tu es mi mama."  Help me, you are my mom, cried the girl in Spanish.

 

She told Litener to go outside and look, and when she did, she saw a van parked in the girls driveway off NW 1st Street with a man inside.

 

She asked him what he was doing.

 

"He said he was selling merchandise, perfumes, shoes, clothes and something clicked in my head 'let me see the merchandise.'  I already looked in the van, there was nothing there.  It was empty," said Litener.

 

Right after Litener confronted the driver, he took off.

 

Brittany Cooley saw the driver of the van try to talk with the girl after she got off the school bus. She's seen the van before. 

 

"I've seen him circling the block, I told my mom I saw the van over and over," said Cooley.

 

What has residents in the Dewberry Gardens neighborhood especially concerned is that it happened just a few feet from the bus stop and just a few feet from the girl's home.

 

Earlier that same day, a van with a similar description was spotted in the Douglas Park neighborhood east of Okeechobee.

 

A woman there told deputies her 4-year-old said a man in a van had told him to come with him.

 

Scarlett Litener has two boys, ages 2 and 4.  "Always constantly now on the lookout no matter what and I hope the people do the same thing," said Litener.

 

The van is described as a blue 2001-2003 Toyota Sienna with fading paint on the passenger's side roof and a missing blinker.  There may also be a "Taxi" sign in the front.

 

The man behind the wheel is described as a Hispanic male with a middle eastern accent.  He's about 5'9" with short black hair, a full beard and a mustache.  He was last seen wearing a pink, blue, and green striped shirt and tan pants.

 

If you have any information, contact the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office.

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