Driver identified, detectives determine no 'stranger danger' in Paulding County

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Detectives in Paulding County said they no longer believe there was a stranger danger situation after speaking with a man seen driving a white work van.

Deputies said they made contact with the man seen driving the van on Wednesday around 6 p.m. along School Road in the Burnt Hickory community in northern Paulding County. Initially, deputies believed the man tried to lure an 11-year-old into his van, but have since said inconsistencies in the sixth-grader’s story along with the full cooperation of the driver have led there was no danger.

Police said the man driving the GMC Savanna Work van, as seen in pictures released Thursday by the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, actually works for a popular package delivery service. Company records including GPS and timestamp match what the unnamed driver told investigators. Detectives also were able to determine the driver man no other stops.

The driver told investigators he likely was on the phone since this was not his usual route and he slowed down when passing the child and accompanying dog were close to the road, but he said he never stopped or spoke with the child.

Investigators believe the girl got scared when the van passed and prompted her to report it.

“At this time, due to the inconsistency of the alleged juvenile victim’s story combined with the fact that the male delivery driver has been more than cooperative, there will be no charges filed in this case,” the sheriff’s office posted on their Facebook page. “We appreciate everyone’s diligence in this case and want the public to know that we take any allegations of child abduction and kidnapping very serious.”

RELATED: Paulding County deputies search for attempted child abductor