VACAVILLE (CBS13) — It was back to normal Friday after a woman tried to kidnap a four-year-old boy at Cooper Elementary in Vacaville.
Nicole Warren was dropping off her fourth-grader Thursday when she saw police investigating an attempted kidnapping during morning drop off.READ MORE: Record Number Of Loaded Guns Found At US Airport Security Checkpoints
“I was surprised this morning when I dropped them off there was no police presence,” Warren said.
Police say 56-year-old Aileen Caringal, who lives just steps away from the school, posed as a teacher and tried to snatch a four-year-old boy, but was stopped by the boy’s stepfather and police. Her family says she suffers from mental illness.
Her ex-husband Arthur Caringal said, “I apologize because she is totally out of her mind.”
The school district said there was no need to go on lockdown because Caringal was arrested immediately and they did not want to alarm students or parents. They notified parents via text and email.
“The message was sent out once we communicated with Vacaville police. We worked together to assure parents there was no safety issue on campus,” said a district spokesperson.
So we wanted to know, what can the school legally do to protect students? Vacaville Police told CBS13 they can file a restraining order and ask for a no trespassing order. School officials say these measures are already in the works. But some parents do not think that’s enough.READ MORE: Fire Burns Self-Storage Units In North Highlands
“I think they should have security,” said one father.
They worry Caringal could show up again, given her close proximity and her mental state. Her family has similar concerns.
“The difficult part is she lives on her own and she doesn’t have someone to care about and kids gave her a purpose in life,” Arthur Caringal said.
They say Caringal, a registered nurse and caregiver, has been out of work for over a year and off her medication for months. The family believes she actually thought the little boy was her son Brian who attended Cooper more than a decade ago.
Parents say the incident is a wake-up call
Nicole Warren said, “How do we approach this and be sensitive to her mental illness and also the safety of our kids? I think that is something the district needs to address and out policies and procedures in place to address something like this.”MORE NEWS: US Plans $50B Wildfire Fight Where Forests Meet Neighborhoods
The family said Caringal has been on a 72-hour hold at least a half dozen times before, but she has never been arrested. They hope this is her wake-up call to get help.