Vanderbilt student reports off-campus kidnapping attempt; police investigating

Posted at 1:20 PM, Apr 05, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — An investigation has gotten underway after a Vanderbilt University student reported an attempted kidnapping that occurred off campus.

The university said the student reported the incident Sunday, saying the attempted kidnapping happened on Saturday, between 9 and 9:20 p.m.

She told police that she had just left a business near 21st Avenue South and Grand Avenue, and was walking eastbound on Grand Avenue, when a man appeared from the parking lot between 19th Avenue South and 18th Avenue South.

She said he yelled, “Come here, I want to talk to you,” but she ignored him and continued walking east.

She said he then ran towards her and lifted her off the ground. She told police she began screaming and fighting to resist and was able to break free and run from the area.

She described the suspect as approximately 20-30 years old, 6’1”-6’4” in height, with a thin build. She said he was wearing a long-sleeve flannel shirt and dark jeans.

VUPD officials said they’re currently investigating the incident.

A security notice was sent to students, urging them to:

  • "Avoid isolated or dark areas."
  • "If a stranger does approach, maintain a distance and be observant; if they are in a vehicle, get the license plate number."
  • "Never get in a car with a stranger."
  • "Stay alert. If you feel uneasy, leave the area. Go to a safe location and notify VUPD."
  • "Report any suspicious persons to VUPD. Be prepared to describe the person as best as you can."

In mid-March, Metro police confirmed they were investigating an attempted abduction of a Belmont student in the 12 South neighborhood. The woman had gone for a jog on Saturday, March 13, when two men allegedly tried to kidnap her. Belmont University also sent out an email to its students about the investigation and urged them to stay alert.

"It was pretty scary as a female myself, I live down there and campus is that way so I walk down here like every single day and I’ve even done it in the dark by myself," said Vanderbilt student Neeti Gandra.

Students say they have taken precautions because of the recent attempted abductions.

"I carry this alarm, so when I walk if I feel unsafe, I can pull it, so it’s definitely on my mind, but seeing stories like this makes it much more realistic," Gandra said.