FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) - A principal in York County sent a letter to parents warning that a man attempted to abduct two boys who were walking to school early Monday morning. According to the letter from the principal at Pleasant Knoll Elementary School, both boys were able to run back to their houses safely.
The York County Sheriff's Office says the boys, ages 7 and 11, were walking to school on Whitley Road when they say a man wearing a dark grey hoodie sweatshirt, and dark pants walked out of the woods holding a knife in one hand and a pair of pliers in the other hand. He then reportedly said something like "come here boy" to the boys.
Family members told WBTV the boys are cousins.
The older boy said he told the 7-year-old to run and the pair ran up a hill away from the person. According to the sheriff's office, the younger boy said he did not see the man.
Pleasant Knoll Elementary School was temporarily placed on an "exterior lockdown," meaning students were kept inside for the day and all exterior doors remain locked. According to the letter, recess or any other planned outside activity are the only things affected.
The lockdown was lifted around noon.
Grey Young, the school's principal, wrote in an email to parents, "We ask that parents use this event to speak with your children about the right thing to do in these type of situations," Young said in the letter. "We appreciate your support and cooperation."
A second letter detailing the incident was also sent to all parents of students in the Fort Mill School District.
WBTV talked to the student and his family, who were still shaken up.
"I was thinking that if I don't escape, I'm going to get hurt," said Michael Huskey.
Huskey is in the 5th grade and said that he was walking to school with his cousin Jayden when he says they were approached by a man from the woods.
"When he came out with a pair of pliers that had knifes in them, he chased us up the hill," said Huskey.
Both boys ran home and got help.
York County deputies used a dog to search for a suspect, but were unsuccessful. Investigators confirmed they recovered a multi-tool near the area.
"The pliers that the man had had with all the knives had been dropped right along near their book bags," said Terrie Ruff, Huskey's mother.
Ruff said she won't be allowing her child to walk to school anymore. The family lives just down the road from Pleasant Knoll Elementary.
"That's my baby, that's my world, from a parents point of view, that's the worst thing that can ever happen to you," Huskey said.
Both families are thankful that their children are OK and that they listened to conversations about what to do.
"I am so proud of him, I really am, he protected his cousin, and along the way protected himself," Ruff said.
When asked if Ruff was confident the man was trying to abduct her child, she said, "When you have a set of pliers with knives in your hands, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? They're going to hurt me. They're going to hurt me. I need to run, so for what he did, I am so proud of him."
If you have any information about the incident Monday, you're asked to call the York County Sheriff's Office.