Questions Remain After 5-Year-Old Disappears from Elk Grove School

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ELK GROVE --

School is a place where children are supposed to learn the facts, but after what happened to little Ripley at Charles Mack on Monday, her father has issued a harsh report card on the elementary school and the Elk Grove Unified School District.

"To be frank with you, I think it's an outright lie, and everybody's covering their butts, I feel like," Nelson Singh said.

That's his assessment of the district's account of his 5-year-old daughter's disappearance from school around dismissal time.

"We believe that what happened was just an unfortunate situation where the child veered into another line," said District Spokesperson Xanthi Pinkerton.

If those missteps actually happened, and were all that happened to his little one, Singh says he might be able to accept that.

But what he's hearing from his child has made him feel differently.

"She keeps on telling me that the child says, 'I'm taking you to your mommy and daddy.' That's how they lured her, and I guess got her trust," he said.

The child he's talking about is one of several sixth-graders he says he found his daughter with a few blocks away from the Charles Mack campus after a passing parent spotted her.

That parent heard Singh shouting a description of Ripley's Batman T-shirt and plaid shorts and then led him to the group of boys.

"And I said, 'Do you know how my daughter wound up here?' He says 'Oh, I brought her here ... I brought her here.' And I said 'Why would you do that?'  He said, 'Oh I thought she lived here,'" Singh said.

Singh claims district investigators are well aware of the involvement of other students because officers talked to their parents.

But according to Pinkerton, "there were no other students in the vicinity when the police officer found the student."

Though Elk Grove protocols mandate PA system announcements and calls to district police as soon as a child's discovered missing, Singh says none of that was happening when he and his wife asked teachers where Ripley was.

He says that's proof staff was unaware that she was missing -- contrary to what the district has indicated.

When FOX40 asked for the district police report about Ripley's disappearance, we were told the incident was too brief for a report to be filed.

But the Singhs were given a report number by officers on scene.

"They're taking this so lightly ... and kind of shifting the blame around," Singh said.

"When I found out that she was gone, my whole world was crumbled. I mean, that's all I have in this life. We're not down with materialistic things," Singh said. "This is something that God gave us to hold and love, flesh and blood, and I'm glad my daughter's with me. Things could have been so much worse."

The Singhs are meeting with an associate superintendent for the Elk Grove District Wednesday, as well as a lawyer.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.