A 26-year-old Wayne man was arraigned Thursday morning in Delaware County after police said he attempted to lure three elementary-age children into the woods with him.
Daniel Lee was arrested Wednesday night after allegedly approaching three siblings, ages 8, 9, and 10, twice as they played together outside, away from parental supervision. He has been charged with attempted luring of children into a structure, corruption of minors, and harassment.
According to Radnor Township police, the first incident occurred shortly before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, when Lee approached the three children as they rode their bikes along Arbordale Road near West Wayne Avenue. As he spoke with the children, police said, Lee inquired about their bikes, where they went to school, and who their teachers were before "asking the children if they have ever been into the woods," according to the arrest affidavit.
Lee told the children that he was searching for an abandoned cabin in the woods and insinuated that he wanted the children to follow him, according to police. After a brief conversation, the siblings continued on to the Wayne Elementary School playground, and Lee disappeared into woods near the property.
Lee allegedly emerged 20 minutes later, reengaging the children in similar conversation while at the playground, enticing them again to go with him to find the cabin. At that time, the children's mother saw Lee speaking to her children and called police.
Police said Thursday they do not believe that such a cabin exists. Lee is being held in the Delaware County prison on $100,000 bail. Police said he would not be released until a psychiatric evaluation is completed.
"He admitted he knew right from wrong," said Detective T.J. Schreiber at a Thursday afternoon news conference, referring to his conversation with Lee after his arrest. "And he knew it was wrong for a stranger, especially 26-year-old men, to speak with 10-years-and-under children."
According to a 6ABC report, Lee's parents said he is autistic and enjoys talking to children. They said he posed no threat or danger. Police were aware that Lee has "cognitive issues," according to the 6ABC report. Reached by phone, Lee's parents declined to comment.
"The good thing is, nothing worse happened here," Schreiber said. At no time did Lee have physical contact with the children, he said.