Abduction attempt coverage

Several far-away relatives and friends called today. It is not often Fertile is in the national news, so they wondered what was up. Or, in the case of my friends in Jersey who originally hailed from here, they knew more than I did due to their connections in town.

The story fleshes out slowly. Early on, it sounded as if the girl had jumped right out of the car after her abduction. But the house she went to for help was on the other end of town, on the main highway to Winger. Right away we speculated that the car had not taken the main road but had taken the side streets and was turning onto the Winger road. That would be the only reason for the car to slow down at that point enough to allow her to escape.

Now the news reports are saying that the car had slowed for an intersection, which means it was in fact turning onto the Winger road from the side street that runs by the maintainance shed. Now, a person would have to know the town quite well to be able to make it from the grocery store to that intersection the back way without getting confused. Makes you think it might be somebody from around here.

Also tonight--news that the girl was hit over the head and knocked out. Such an injury should be easily confirmed by the hospital, which should lay to rest any speculation the girl's story is just a story, which some people are bound to suspect.

However, it is strange that the sheriff's office released a statement very early in the day which tersely announced, without giving reason, that the attempted abduction in Fertile was completely unrelated to the abduction of Dru Sjodin in Grand Forks. How were they so sure? They must have had reasons.

Quotes from neighbors are showing up on the ABC News website, and the KSTP TV website. You have to be leery when the press shows up in your little town, for they have their own agenda--getting more viewers--and, no matter the story, they often come into small towns looking for people who confirm their stereotypes and prejudices. Somebody who is well-spoken will be edited out in favor of somebody with a little "local color," i.e. somebody with a heavy Scandanavian accent who stammers in the gaze of the camera and makes the viewers in the city relieved that they live somewhere with running water and electricity. Everybody quoted today sounded together and sensible, however.

Also, the national media often get the facts wrong. The first text about the Fertile incident which scrolled across the screen on Headline News was completely inaccurate: It quoted authorities as saying Dru Sjodin escaped the car of her abductor. It was, of course, the girl from Fertile who escaped the car. Dru disappeared a week ago and hasn't been found yet.

The Fertile part of the story will likely disappear from the national stage soon, unless something new comes up. The Dru Sjodin case seems to have that pizzazz which attracts disproportionate national media attention. We can only hope the Fertile case does not.