A Utah family has been left shaken after they said their son was followed by a car full of men who attempted to lure him in with candy as he walked home from basketball practice.
Grayden Dowland, 10, had regularly made the 200-foot journey from his basketball coach’s home back to his house three times a week. However, on Dec. 19, the young boy was approached by strangers in a white four-door sedan, reported Fox 13.
“I started walking home and there was two guys in a car,” Grayden recalled.
“They said, ‘Hi’ and I started walking faster,” Grayden explained. “And they said, ‘Get in the backseat, we have some candy.’”
At around 6:20 p.m. on a Thursday night, Grayden noticed he was being followed as he walked home. He quickly picked up the pace and ran to his family home, but, the door was locked.
“I ran right here and I just ran right there,” Grayden said, pointing towards a path in his front garden leading to his front door.
Chilling footage of Grayden in a panic was captured on the family’s doorbell surveillance camera.
He can be seen glancing behind him to check if he was still being followed by the strangers, whose car parked in front of his neighbor’s home. Then, upon seeing Grayden was locked out of his house, the car went into reverse toward the front of the Dowland home.
“I peeked my head out and they were literally right in front of that little thing,” the boy explained pointing the yard’s property-marker.
He cried out to his mother for help and picked up some rocks from the corner of the walkway, yelling: “Mom! Mom! Get away! Get away!”
“I picked up rocks and I was holding them like this,” Grayden told Fox 13. “If they got any closer, I was going to throw them.”
Fearing he was about to be abducted by the men, he ran into a neighbor’s home one door down.
“The door was open so I just ran in and I closed the door and I locked it,” he said.
Despite making his way to safety, the group of men didn’t give up. Surveillance footage shows the white car pull into a neighbor’s driveway and parked there for several minutes.
His family, who have lived in the area for 14 years, say they have been left traumatized and on edge by the incident. Grayden’s father, David Dowland, described the footage as “gut-wrenching.”
“To have it happen on your front doorstep, literally, it’s an eye-opener,” David said.
“Less than 200 feet, I mean if kids can’t walk two doors down at six o’clock at night, that’s scary,” he added. “[Grayden] was scared to death.”
Grayden’s father said that in the future, he will ensure a parent or Grayden’s coach will walk home with him.
A report has been filed by the Dowlands with Riverton police, according to the news outlet. The men have been described as being in their 30s or 40s with no facial hair.