Deputies: Man grabbed 12-year-old in abduction attempt

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A 12-year-old girl told deputies a man tried to abduct her as she was walking home from school in the Pine Hills area Tuesday evening.

Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said the incident happened on Ruthie Drive near Powers Drive shortly before 6 p.m. The victim said she was walking on the sidewalk when the man suddenly appeared.

"He grabbed her and she began to fight back and was able to break free," said Lt. Paul Hopkins of the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "She ran home, contacted her mom and called 911."

DNA evidence from that struggle is being compared to a state database for a match, authorities said.

Deputies responded and searched the surrounding neighborhoods looking for the man, but he was not located.

"Any time anyone does a crime like this it's our concern that he might do this again," Hopkins said.

Residents who live in the area watched as deputies went through the neighborhood looking for evidence.

"I was scared, scared for not just our children, but ourselves," Jeanie Holley said.

Detectives plan to do more interviews with the victim, but at this point said they believe the attempted abduction was a random crime.

"There are four or five schools right here. At any given time you can see a group of kids up and down the street," said parent Traeick Ward. "I hope this is just one of those random acts. I hope it's not an ongoing thing. I hope he’s not from the area.  I really don't know where he’'s from, but wherever he is he needs to be caught. Do something, like today not tomorrow."

 

The suspect is described as a black male in his 30s with facial hair and a tattoo on his right arm.   

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.