Concerned parents are on high alert after the attempted abduction of a ten-year-old girl just a few hundred metres from a primary school in Melbourne's south-east.
The grade four student was riding her scooter to a local school in Pakenham when she was approached by a man at 8.30am on Friday.
The man enticed the schoolgirl to the back of his orange or red-coloured station wagon before throwing her into the boot, but the girl was able to climb over a seat and escape through a passenger door.
Now, parents of children at Pakenham Hills Primary School say they are being more vigilant and the whole community is looking out for one another.
Anxious parents accompanied their children to school this morning, and say they will continue to do so until the apparent abductor is caught.
Shock and anger
The victim's parents, who do not wish to be identified, yesterday spoke of their shock and anger to reporters.
The girl's father broke down as he tried to describe the man who tried to abduct his daughter.
"He's not really a man," he told reporters.
"You hear of these things happening, but you don't ever think it could happen to you.
Her mother said she was "devastated" when she found out what had happened.
"I don't think there is any words to describe how you feel to somebody that's done that to your child. Horrible," she said.
The couple said they had been reluctant to allow their daughter to make her own way to school, but agreed after warning her about stranger danger.
The girl will now be driven to school for the time being and will therefore lose some of her independence, her father said.
Detective Inspector Paul Binyon from the Sexual Crimes Squad said the crime was "abhorrent".
"It is every parent's worst nightmare," he said.
"As a father of a 12-year-old girl the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I was really concerned when I heard about this."
The man is described as aged in his late 20s, with a thin build, olive complexion and short dark hair.