Vanessa Orduno and her family live a couple blocks from the La Quinta Soccer Park.
“My oldest son comes and just practices with other teams out here. My 12-year-old wanted to come and just ride his scooter and play in the skate park,” Orduno said.
Around 8:30 Monday night, Orduno was ready to pick her sons up from the park when she heard banging on the front door. It was her 12-year-old son Derek.
“At first I thought he had gotten beat up because his shirt was pulled and stretched out. He told me was attacked,” said Orduno.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said Derek was riding his scooter when he bumped into a parked car in the parking lot. About an hour later, Derek said he was at a drinking fountain near the playground when a man came up from behind and grabbed him by the back of his shirt and told him very quietly to stay quiet and get in his car.
“He threw his hands up and pushed him away to break away. He said he looked the man straight in the eyes and got on his scooter and took off really fast,” said Orduno.
Derek described the man to police as a white man in his late 30’s with a medium build, dark hair and a possible tattoo on his left arm.
As Derek got away he said the man walked quickly after him, got in a white Sedan and drove off.
“He’s OK right now. He’s a little shaken up. We just tell him how proud we are he remembered everything we taught him to do if someone were to ever approach him and attack him,” said Orduno.
“You would want to think your kids are safe, but the sad reality is they’re not,” said Sheila Ortega, of Indio.
Police recommend parents to remind children to stay in groups. If you are approached by a stranger, run away. And, if you feel unsafe or threatened, call 911.
“He could’ve not came home. It’s hard to think your son could’ve not knocked on your door,” said Orduno.
It was a close and emotional call for the Ordunos.
“I just hope this person is found. I’m scared for somebody else who’s not as fortunate as my son to get away,” said Orduno.
At this time, the La Quinta Police Department is investigating this incident as a suspicious circumstance. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Investigator Paixao at 760-863-8990, or they can remain anonymous by calling Valley Crime Stoppers at 760-341-STOP (7867).