Girl, 10, kidnapped and assaulted in NE Fresno

September 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Investigators from the Fresno County Sheriff's Department are searching for a suspect who kidnapped a 10 year old girl as she walked her bicycle to a Northeast Fresno Elementary School.

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The victim was abducted in the area of Jackson and Gettysburg Tuesday morning and was found more than seven hours later near Napa and Highway 180 in Fresno County. A man who lives in the rural area spotted the little girl as she stumbled down the road. "She was just kind of uncomfortable, she was trying to hold her shirt down, trying to hide her wrists they were badly beaten up," said Fortunato Martinez.

The little girl told investigators that a man in a pickup truck asked her if she needed help as she walked alongside her bike. He then picked her up, drove her more than 30 miles to a rural portion of Western Fresno County, and sexually assaulted her. Sheriff's investigators said after the attack, the victim was left among the weeds. She eventually broke free of the bindings around her wrists and started walking alongside Highway 180 near Napa Road. After spotting and then approaching the girl, Martinez and his wife called the girl's parents and 9-1-1.

The victim was interviewed and taken to Children's Hospital. She also gave investigators a detailed description of the suspect and his vehicle. The kidnapper is described as a Hispanic male in his 20's with short or black hair and was wearing a blue shirt with yellow and white writing. He was driving an older model brown truck with a single cab and white stripes.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Department spent hours Tuesday evening canvassing the Northeast Fresno neighborhood where the little girl was abducted, going door to door in order to reach out to neighbors. They're hoping someone saw something that will help lead them to the suspect.

In the meantime, Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson said the district is reviewing its attendance policy at the child's school. Right now, parents are contacted only after a student misses two consecutive days of school. The victim's parents didn't know she had missed school until Martinez called them. "The mom was like, 'What do you mean she's in Kerman?' She didn't even know where Kerman was. She thought she was in school all day," said Martinez.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Department is urging anyone who may have seen the suspect or his vehicle to contact investigators. They said the little girl's pink bicycle and school backpack are missing, and could be in the back of the truck.


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