No foul play suspected in Helena incident involving child

Published 4:00 pm Friday, June 3, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Helena police Detective Chris Rollan said the department does not suspect foul play was involved in a June 2 incident between a child and an older male suspect in the Fieldstone Park subdivision.

Police reported they were searching for the white male, who was described as an “older man with grayish-colored hair and a mustache,” at about 1:30 p.m. June 3.

The report came after someone reported the suspect approached a child and “tried to initiate a conversation” at about 2:50 p.m. on June 2. The incident happened in the 400 block of Fieldstone Park, which is off Shelby County 17.

After the man approached the child, he left the scene in an older model, maroon or rusty-colored truck, according to information released by the Helena Police Department. The truck also contained several tools in the bed, and possibly a lawnmower, police said.

“It turns out that it was simply an older man who was conducting business without a business license,” Rollan said. “He just approached the child and patted him on the shoulder and offered him a piece of gum.

“No child was snatched, but it’s one of those cases where we would rather have someone call us and tell us about it and it not turn out to be anything than for something to happen and us not be notified,” Rollan added.

Rollan said he received more than 1,000 emails from people in Alabama and other states offering to help with the investigation after police announced they were searching for the suspect.

Rollan interviewed the suspect June 3, but released him after the victim decided not to press charges.

“This was a case that was very important to us, and had to be handled in a timely manner,” Rollan wrote in a press release. “Thanks to the description the child gave, and assistance given to Helena police by the community, we were able to locate the suspect and have him interviewed within 24 hours of the incident occurring.”