Greene County Sheriff Steve Haupert

Sheriff: No evidence of abduction claim


GRAND JUNCTION — A Grand Junction woman who claims a man in a white van attempted to abduct her 3-year-old girl on Monday might face a criminal charge for making a false report to law officers, Greene County Sheriff Steve Haupert said.

Tauwana Laue, 36, reported the alleged abduction attempt shortly before 11:40 a.m., which prompted schools in the Greene County Community School District to lock their doors.

She said it happened just north of Greene County Intermediate School in Grand Junction as the woman walked a dog and the girl rode a bike.

Laue claims a white man got out of a van and grabbed the child, but was thwarted by the pit bull that bit the man’s arm. The man then returned to the van and drove off.

Haupert said surveillance video from the school’s playground should have recorded the vehicle driving in the area, but that the van did not appear on the recording.

“I know for a fact it didn’t happen where she said it did,” Haupert said. “All the evidence that we have right now does not corroborate what she was telling us.”

Haupert said Laue — in his initial interview with her — immediately connected the incident to two abduction attempts of young girls in Webster County this past weekend, and that her story about what happened in Grand Junction was nearly identical to what was reported in Webster.

The girl — who had fresh cuts on her arm — did not corroborate her mother’s story, Haupert said.

“I asked her, ‘How did you get hurt?’ and ‘Did that man hurt you?’ All she could respond was that she fell off her bike,” Haupert said.

Laue has agreed to take a polygraph test to help determine whether her report was truthful. That test might be complete later this week or early next, Haupert said.

“It may well have happened,” he said, “but we’re not seeing any evidence of it. If somebody can corroborate it, please do.”

One thing was certain — news of the alleged abduction attempt touched off a frenzy of panic throughout the county Monday afternoon.

Greene County elementary, intermediate and middle schools promptly went on “external lockdown,” said Scott Johnson, principal of Greene County Elementary School.

“All of the outside doors are locked to the building,” Johnson said Monday.

“We run the day like a normal school day otherwise,” he added.

No outside recess was held Monday.

Calls from concerned parents flooded the district’s elementary school in Jefferson, in particular.

Reports of suspicious white vans also came in from all over the county.

A Rippey resident, for one, called the sheriff’s office to report seeing a white van in Perry over the weekend.

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