La PORTE – A woman who allegedly tried to lure children away from a La Porte daycare center with candy and music has been charged with attempted kidnapping and ordered to undergo a competency evaluation.
Cathy L. Koehn, 59, of Mill Creek is beng held in the La Porte County Jail on a $15,000 cash bond, facing Level 5 felony counts of attempted kidnapping where the victim is under 14, and attempted kidnapping committed with a vehicle, according to the La Porte County Sheriff's Dept.
According to court records, Koehn was seen about 10 a.m. on two separate occasions at Kid’s Discovery Day Care in the 100 block of Lincoln Way.
Court documents say she arrived in a red pickup on July 16 while kids were playing outside, playing loud music from the truck. She began to dance around the vehicle, asked the children for their names, and asked if they wanted to dance with her, according to court records and a La Porte Police report.
An employee told police a woman attempted to speak to the children, but none came closer to her except one 3-year-old, police and court records show. The boy later said the woman asked, if "You wanna come for a ride with me?" according to the police report.
The employee said she knew the woman was not the parent of any of the children, so she asked another worker to take her picture, but the report says Koehn sped away before someone could take a photo, the report said.
On July 24, Koehn returned, again playing loud music, according to police reports and court reports. An employee told police she heard the woman offer the kids candy and a ride.
The employee told a co-worker to take a picture, but a 9-year old boy with a cell phone said he would do it. The boy said Koehn posed for pictures he was taking and told him and another boy, "Come on guys, get in the truck. ... I have a bunch of candy," according to court documents.
Police said she also told a 7-year old girl, "Come on little girl, I’ve got candy"; and told a younger girl, "I’ve got a lot of blankets, puppies, cats and toys."
One of the photos the boy took included a license plate number, and a warrant for Koehn's arrest was issued on Aug. 19. She was arrested by La Porte Police on Aug. 22, according to court records.
Police interviewed several children, who said Koehn asked them their names and whether they wanted to dance, but they said the music was "too weird," according to court records.
One of the children, a boy, also said the same woman had driven by his house, told him she had a lot of candy and asked if he wanted to go for a ride with her, according to the police report.
When questioned, Koehn told police she did pull up to the daycare to talk to the children and let them listen to music, but denied offering them candy or a ride, according to court records.
She appeared in La Porte Circuit Court on Aug. 27 and Judge Thomas Alevizos ordered her to undergo an examination to "determine her competency and comprehension to understand court proceedings." A court-appointed psychologist was given 30 days to report back to the court.
A status hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 27 in Circuit Court, and an omnibus hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18. If convicted, Koehn faces up to six years in prison.