Killeen ISD and Fort Hood officials are investigating a disturbing incident involving a stranger and four Rancier Middle School students.

Chelsea Edwards with our partners at News 10 reports that a man in a gray pickup truck pulled his vehicle up to greet four 7th grade students leaving campus Friday, flashed cash and a military ID, and said he'd just returned from Korea and wanted to "give back to the community".

The man reportedly offered to meet the students at a nearby convenience store and buy them snacks. The kids took him up on the offer, allowing him to purchase chips, candy, and drinks for them.

According to investigators, the man then offered the children a ride home, and two of them took him up on it, jumping into the back of his truck.


Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries or anything illegal happening. Still, this is the sort of story that makes me cringe and sends chills down my spine.

"We don't know if there was any kind of violation of the law, that is still under investigation,” KISD spokesman Terry Abbott told News 10. “But we're following leads and speaking to a number of local authorities who can help, and we just want to use this occasion to point out to parents and kids again, please tell your kids don't go off with strangers."

“This time nobody was hurt," Abbott added. "Next time might not be that lucky."

Authorities say one of the students may have taken a photo of the man's military ID. They were still investigating the incident Tuesday.

Parents, please talk to your kids about how dangerous accepting any offer from a stranger is - especially an offer of a ride.

This isn't Mayberry. We're too close to two major highways notorious for human trafficking activity, and even if we weren't, there's never any reason for a child to just jump into a stranger's vehicle, nor is it ever ok for a random adult to stop next to a bunch of kids and offer to buy them things.

Talk about creepy.

And speaking of creepy, officials say this isn't the first time KISD has had to investigate an incident like this. News 10 reports that during the fall 2018 semester, Killeen students were shown money and threatened by strangers on four different occasions.


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