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Mother of sex assault victim fears for others

June 01, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - The mother of a girl who was abducted from her apartment and sexually assaulted last month said Thursday she is afraid the attacker's next victim won't get away.

The woman, who lives with her four children and fianc at Oak Ridge Park Apartments on Downsville Pike, said her 11-year-old daughter was sleeping at about 4 a.m. May 10 when a man wearing a mask broke into the window of the first-floor bedroom she shared with her 8-year-old sister.

"He was sitting on top of her like this, and he said, 'If you scream, I'll kill your mother and your little sister,'" said the victim's mother, who crouched above a bed near the window where the man broke in, showing how he put his hand to her daughter's mouth.

The woman said the man forced her daughter out of her room through the window, and he dragged her to a wooded spot near the basketball court behind the apartment complex, where he assaulted her. The girl escaped when the man apparently was frightened by lights in the woods.

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To protect the identity of the victim, The Herald-Mail is not identifying the girl's family.

The man threatened to slit the girl's throat if she tried to get away, her mother said.

Investigator Greg Alton said the Washington County Sheriff's Department is awaiting results from physical evidence that was sent to an FBI lab.

"We have evidence that we're hoping we can get DNA from," Alton said.

Alton said the girl was sexually assaulted, but he refused to say whether she had been raped.

The family moved into the apartment in mid-March, said the victim's mother, who doesn't know whether the man intended to let her daughter go. She said she worries his next victim won't be so lucky.

"I wonder all the time if he was planning to kill her," she said.

The girl returned to her family about an hour or 1 1/2 hours after the attack, as the family and police gathered outside, the victim's mother said.

In the girls' room, clothes were strewn across the floor Thursday. Spider-Man paraphernalia filled the room of their little brother. The victim's mother's fianc said the windows of the apartment are kept closed now - the girls' window was partially open the night of the attack - and the family is hoping to move to a new unit.

"Our gut feeling is she was stalked because they had the blinds open all the time. Now, none of the blinds get opened," the fianc said.

The victim's mother said her daughter said she saw her attacker outside her window the evening before the incident.

A splotch of mud still stains the wall where the mother said she believes the man entered the girls' room.

Outside the apartment, the mother's fianc pointed out where he believes the man took the girl. He said he has one question for the attacker: Why?

"We're just going to battle through it," he said.

Since the attack, the 8-year-old feels guilty that she was not able to protect her sister from the man, the girls' mother said. The 11-year-old, who suffered some bruises in the attack, is worried the man will hurt another child.

The mother said she has stressed to her children to be wary of strangers. She said she never realized they wouldn't be safe in their own home.

"That's my biggest fear. He's had three weeks to get his confidence back. He's either going to run and hide, or he's going to do it again to some other little girl," the mother said.

Investigators seek help



Investigator Greg Alton said the Washington County Sheriff's Department is awaiting the results of tests on physical evidence recovered after a man took an 11-year-old girl from her home at Oak Ridge Park Apartments and sexually assaulted her May 10.

The girl's mother said Thursday the victim and her 8-year-old sister said the man was wearing a mask at the time of the attack. She said the 11-year-old described the man as black with no facial hair. He is chubby and stands 5 feet 8 inches or 5 feet 9 inches tall.

Anyone with information about the incident may call Alton at 240-313-2185.

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