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The Michigan State Police Artist Division sketched this photo of the suspect based on the victim’s descrip­tions. Courtesy|Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department

While police are still searching for the suspect of an attempted abduction that occurred on Friday, cit­izens are gearing up to take ini­tiative in pro­moting self-defense. Mayor Adam Stockford expressed in a Facebook post that a basic self-defense class in the city would be ben­e­ficial.

“People every­where should always be ready to defend them­selves or others,” Stockford said in an email. “It’s just a matter of being pre­pared which is a fun­da­mental respon­si­bility of being an adult.”

On Feb. 1 around 4 p.m., a 24-year-old female was walking home from Davis’s Economy Station and Dollar General in Jef­ferson Township, “when a truck stopped and a white male subject got out, grabbed her, and attempted to pull her into his vehicle,” according to a news statement from the sheriff’s office.

“She states that the male struck her in the face, telling her, ‘It will be easy and to get into the truck,’” the statement said.

The woman fought the attacker and was able to retreat to her home.

An image depicting the woman’s description of the suspect was pro­duced by the Michigan State Police Forensic Artist Division. At press time, the suspect was not found. The forensic artist’s ren­dering of the suspect has been shared on social media.

“We put it out to social media with the sketch drawing, but we have no more details about the subject,” Sheriff Tim Parker said Tuesday. “We do have the vehicle iden­tified as being involved in the incident.”

The Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Scene Inves­ti­gation Unit seized the Dodge truck shown in a video released by the sheriff’s office and processed the reported suspect pickup truck.

“The owner of the truck has been inter­viewed and is not believed to be a suspect at this time in the inves­ti­gation,” a news statement said. “Mul­tiple inter­views have been con­ducted and the Sheriff’s Office con­tinues to be vig­or­ously follow up on all leads on the case.”

Parker said that all people should be aware of their sur­roundings and have a plan in such sit­u­a­tions.

“Be pre­pared to fight back if you were to be abducted,” Parker said.

Stockford said the self-defense class could involve learning how to leverage someone’s body weight, tem­porarily inca­pac­itate someone, or exercise the second amendment right to bear arms.

“It’s a most American virtue to defend your person and property,” he said. “Most people hope they never have to be in a sit­u­ation where you have to but we rec­ognize that we don’t have control over others’ actions and behavior.”

A free, basic self-defense class for women and children will be held at 5 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Hillsdale Preparatory School Gym, 160 W. Mechanic St. The class will be hosted by trained, local indi­viduals who will teach basic striking, wall-assault escape tech­niques, ground-assault escape tech­niques.

“I’d love to see more options in this area for those pur­poses,” Stockford said. “There’s some great instructors in Hillsdale County and you don’t have to look hard to find them.”