GASTONIA, N.C.–Fun and games at the Christ United Methodist Church in Gastonia’s Fall Festival. “Well each year I love hearing all the spooky stories and that kind of stuff,” said Gracie Hatch who dressed up as Amelia Earhart. She’s one of the dozens of kids who attended the Halloween celebration. “I think it’s very amazing,” said Hatch.
It’s an alternative that was popular this year for parents. “It’s really important these days. You never are too careful,” said Gastonia resident Tori Foy.
Not far from the festival a man assaulted a 14-year-old girl last Sunday at Martha Rivers Park. He got away when the girl’s brother and friend came to the rescue. It’s one of two incidents involving men targeting children at Gaston County parks over the weekend. A 10 year old boy says the man in a recently released police sketch tried to drag him into the woods at the McDonald Athletic Field in McAdenville last Saturday, but the boy got away.
“We’re gonna spend a lot of time here. We’re going other places too,” said Gastonia resident Nathan Anderson. He’s referring to the churches in his neighborhood packed with parents looking for a safe alternative as police search for suspects following dangerous close calls. “You feel safer when the churches are there too, and not going door to door,” said Gastonia resident Sabrina Anderson.
Police are still investigating a third incident. A jogger who exposed himself to two girls at Monteith Park in Huntersville.