Neighbors say attack is 'sad commentary'

May 08, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

INWOOD, W.Va. - The abduction of a 7-year-old girl here is a reflection of an increasingly troubled society and a sobering lesson to parents about the type of world their children face, residents said Wednesday.

"The world is so corrupt. I don't know what goes through people's minds," said Mazie Oden, who lives in the Middle Creek Villages mobile home park where the abduction occurred.

"It's just a sad commentary on the times we live in," said Rodney Woods, principal of Valley View Elementary School, where the girl attended classes. "It just seems there's always someone who can get around the precautions you take."


The girl was abducted from her mother's mobile home while she and her two brothers were sleeping, police said. She was taken to a remote section of western Jefferson County where she told police she was sexually assaulted.

Other parents who live in Middle Creek Villages, off U.S. 11 between Martinsburg, W.Va., and Inwood, expressed shock at the news Wednesday.

Neighbors said some of the youngsters in the mobile home park play outside without adult supervision, which worries them. Sometimes kids will run through the neighborhood until 11 p.m., some said.

"I don't like that," said Timothy Mazie, who has a young son.

Alvin Tabler, who was working at the T&T Service Center along U.S. 11 near Pikeside, said the incident is just another grim reminder of the all-to-frequent crime rate. "That will leave a mark on that child for years," said Tabler.

The girl was described as an inquisitive, intelligent child, said parents in the neighborhood.

If she fell down, she always got up and brushed it off with a smile, said Lisa Reid, whose daughter plays with the girl.

"I've never had any problems out of that little girl," said Reid.

Neighbors remembered seeing the girl a few days ago as she and other youngsters drew on the sidewalk with chalk.

The girl drew a detailed picture of a gumball machine on the sidewalk and was describing to her friends what denominations of money would work in it, neighbors said.

Reid said that on a recent evening, the girl stopped and asked her husband why he was planting flowers in a particular way.

"She picks up on things real quick," Reid said.

The girl gave police a detailed description of her attacker and where he took her, which police said was "paramount" in their ability to make an arrest.

Woods said the incident was not discussed openly at Valley View Elementary Wednesday, but an "emergency response team" made up of a counselor, a nurse and a member of the school administration was available to answer any questions students might have about the incident.

Two students asked the team about the incident, Woods said. The children were aware that police had been in the neighborhood and members of the team talked to them about safety precautions they can take and what they should do if they encounter a stranger, Woods said.

"It seemed to resolve their anxieties," said Woods.

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