Man suspected of trying to lure child at Chehalis playground

A 43-year-old Centralia man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly trying to lure a child away from Penny Playground on the 200 block of Southwest 13th Street in Chehalis while the mother sat in her car.

William L. Baskett was stopped by another parent after allegedly asking a 5-year-old boy to help him search for a leaf in another area, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The parent called police after leading the child away from Baskett and asking him if he knew the man - the child did not.

The parent had reason to be suspicious of Baskett, according to police.

"Actually, the parent that intervened, the suspect had approached his daughter on the swing set," Chehalis Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said. Kaut said the parent witnessed Baskett walking away from the playground area before intervening.

Baskett was scheduled to appear in Lewis County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon for a felony charge of child luring but was released from custody pending further investigation.

"At this point we need to get more details," Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes said, noting a luring charge requires specific information. Kaut said Chehalis Police have had contact with Baskett before, but those contacts were incidents of a mental health nature and Baskett doesn’t have any prior felony convictions and Kaut said there aren’t any notices from elsewhere.

"I don’t see any inside our local system," Kaut said of charges against Baskett.

Copyright (c) 2010, The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash.

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