12-year-old jogger followed by strange man on Manchester Township dirt road

Girl says driver followed her for 1/2 mile on dirt road in quiet Washtenaw County neighborhood

By Lauren Podell - Reporter


With dirt roads, farm land and peaceful surroundings, Manchester Township is a place where 12-year-old Gabby Ornalik always felt safe running.

However, on Tuesday afternoon, when Gabby saw the wheels of a silver car approach her, she knew something was wrong.

"It was a little bit scary. I don't know what he wanted to do," the girl said. "When he rolled down the window he didn't say anything, he just nodded and waved."

Her mother can't understand why someone would think it's OK to stop her daughter.

"There is just no reason why an adult in a car should pull up to a child and ask a child for anything," said Heidi Ornalik. "Next thing, he was getting out of the car door and trying to come around the car, and he just scared her to death. She just started running back up the street."

The man didn't stop there. He followed her down a private dirt road for nearly a 1/2 mile. Gabby ran home. The driver wasn't going anywhere.

"When she got close to the house she noticed the guy was following her all the way to the house. He sat in our circle drive at the end of our road, drove back and forth, you know, staking out the house," Heidi Ornalik said.

While the 8th-grader has been getting ready for next year's track season, her mother has laid down some new running rules.

"She's not allowed to run unless she has someone with her," she said.

-- Heidi and Gabby Ornalik

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