Sumner mother says man chased her daughter to school, district didn’t notify other parents

SUMNER, Wash. — A Sumner mother said a man chased her teen daughter for several blocks to school, and the district did not notify other parents about the alleged incident.

KIRO 7 News spoke Barbarann Kym, who said her 18-year-old daughter Kirsten was followed and later chased by a random man last Thursday.

“I was livid. I was so angry,” she said.

Kym said her daughter, who often walks to Sumner High School, walked past the Arco gas station on West Main Street when a man began following her.

“She started to walk faster. He crossed the street so he could be closer to her. And he started following her,” she said. “Before she knew it, he was full on chasing her. He broke into a sprint and started chasing her. He chased her all the way to the school.”

According to Google Maps, the gas station is about a half a mile away from Sumner High School.

KIRO 7 News confirmed with the parents that it was the man below who followed their daughter.

We’re not showing his face because he hasn’t been charged with anything.

We saw the man walking near the school Thursday afternoon.

Kirsten rushed inside the school building, the parents said, however, the man kept running past the school.


KIRO 7 News spoke with a spokesperson for the Sumner Police Department to get more details.

Carmen Palmer, communication director for the City of Sumner and the police department, said they looked into the alleged incident after a school resource officer followed up.

No police report was filed.

Palmer said they have received multiple complaints about the man in the past.

“We do know this gentleman. He does have mental health issues.” She added, “This gentleman has had some erratic behaviors and some mental health issues.”

After detectives reviewed surveillance footage of the alleged incident, Palmer said officers do not believe the man was trying to follow the student, while they understand the family’s concerns.

“We watched the surveillance. He actually ran past her. When someone’s chasing someone, they typically don’t run past them voluntarily.” She added, “It doesn’t appear she was in any danger.”

“Every indication seems to show his intent was not to follow her and go the same route in same direction. As soon as she ducked in the high school, he kept going. He actually went past her,” she said.

KIRO 7 News asked the parents about the response from police.

“The incident is being minimized. I feel like it’s not being taken seriously,” Kym said.

The mother said no person would coincidently mimic her daughter’s movement and speed in the same director for almost half a mile.

The parents said their daughter is okay because she ran faster than the man.

“The police said he didn’t hurt her. Okay well only because she was faster than he was. He didn’t catch up with her. She was running as fast as she could, and had she not, who knows what else could have happened,” said Kym.

The parents said they understand police can only do so much in this situation.


Terry Bratsch, Kirsten’s stepfather, told KIRO 7 News he picked up his stepdaughter after the alleged incident happened.

He said he was expecting that the district would notify other parents about the situation.

“The Sumner-Bonney Lake School District sends out a daily email so I’m like okay cool. They’ll get this news out to the parents. We never got it,” he said.

“I think every parent needs to know this is happening,” he added. “It’s coming down to this now. Parents have to be their first line of defense for their children in this town.”

“What happens to the next kid who doesn’t have their head on a swivel and realize they’re being followed until it’s too late?” Kym asked.

Kym said other parents did not know about the incident until after she had made a post on social media.

“If it wasn’t for me making a public post about it as a PSA because I thought the community deserved to know, other parents deserved to know. If it wasn’t for that, who would know about this? Parents wouldn’t know about this because the school isn’t notifying parents. The school isn’t making awareness about this,” she said.

We also spoke with another parent at the high school who said her family is terrified following the alleged incident. She said her daughter now takes a new route when she walks to school to keep her safe.

KIRO 7 News reached out to the district to get its response, including its policies on when notifications are sent out to parents.

We also requested the school’s surveillance video of the incident after police said they had reviewed footage.

A spokesperson shared the following statement:

“Regarding your request for surveillance video of the alleged chase, our security cameras only capture footage of the school campus. The man never came onto the campus. After the student reported the incident to the school, administrators immediately called the police. After investigating, the Sumner Police Department shared that the individual’s intent was to not cause fear or stalk her. We understand that incidents among strangers on the street can cause fear. The student did the right thing in getting to a safe place and reporting the incident to school administrators. Safety and security is our top priority. At no time were students and staff on our campus in any danger. Sumner-Bonney Lake School District notifies families when emergency situations arise on campus, such as lockdowns, threats and bus accidents. On any given day, there are individuals wandering Main Street in Sumner, where the high school is located. Our campus safety and front office staff ensures that anyone without a purpose to visit the school does not enter the building during the school day. Sumner High School has three Campus Safety Officers and one School Resource Officer.”

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