An incident involving an unknown man calling out to a child near a school was determined to not be criminal in nature upon investigation by police.

The Hay River RCMP advised the public on Dec. 13 that their investigation found no criminal activity in what was first considered a suspicious interaction between an adult male and a student at Princess Alexandra School the day before.

“On the evening of Dec. 12, a man was identified and located in relation to a report of a suspicious interaction at the Hay River school,” stated a news release from the police. “The investigation concluded that the intent was not suspicious or criminal in nature, but rather an attempt to locate a lost pet believed to be near the school property.”

The RCMP had advised the public it was investigating the incident.

According to the police, a 13-year-old boy reported that he was walking in the playground area of the school at about 10:30 a.m. during recess when a man, standing beside a vehicle in the bus loop, had called out to him and asked him to come over to him.

The boy did not approach the vehicle or the man, but returned to the school building, found a teacher and reported the incident. The teacher went out towards the bus loop and observed a vehicle exiting the area.

The police issued a description of the man and the vehicle.

The RCMP also advised all schools of the incident and extra patrols were conducted in the school areas.

“It is always important to keep your personal safety in mind and to teach your children what to do in the event they encounter a stranger,” stated Marie York-Condon, the RCMP’s media relations contact for the NWT, in a news release before the investigation was complete. “In this case, the child did the right thing by getting to the safety of the school building and reporting it to a teacher right away.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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