By Reggie Ellis & Nancy Gutierrez
A Farmersville man was arrested on Monday, Nov. 24 after a 12-year-old girl attending Wilson Middle School told a teacher she recognized a mini-van that had previously followed her home.
Wilson Principal Rebecca Mestaz said the teacher contacted Vice Principal Frank Silveira who then called the Exeter Police Department with a report of a suspicious mini-van parked behind the school on Orange Avenue during lunch time.
Officer Bonnie Clark-Tormohlen said the man sitting in the light blue Plymouth Voyager was identified as Reuban Herrera, 25, of Farmersville. After searching the mini-van Clark-Tormohlen discovered the young girl's name and address on a piece of paper. She said Herrera is not a relative of the girl and that he claimed he "just wanted to be friends."
"Twenty-five year old men don't just want to be friends with 12-year-old girls," Clark-Tormohlen said.
Herrera was arrested at 1:24 p.m. for stalking and annoying a child. He had no prior record of such offenses.
"This was not the first time that he had been there [at the school]," Clark-Tormohlen said.
Mestaz said she had never heard about the van being parked near the school, but that day heard rumors that it had been there before. Mestaz said they will be keeping students away from fences during break and lunch and move them toward the center of campus to keep a better eye on all of the students.
Clark-Tormohlen said all of Exeter's schools are trained to watch for suspicious people or vehicles and know not to hesitate to report it to the authorities.
"Our schools do a good job," Clark-Tormohlen said.
What You Can Do
Children need to know how to stay safe and protect themselves from kidnaping and other crimes. They need guidance on making safe choices and decisions. The following are some general guidelines and useful tips that parents can share with their children, provided by Safe State, the California Attorney General's Crime and Violence Prevention Center.