SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — A 21-year-old woman was arrested Friday afternoon after stalking a 9-year-old girl for weeks and trying to lure the child to her "secret place," the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said.
Investigators said Karina Geiersbach was living in an abandoned home on Notre Dame Drive near West State Road 436 and Wymore Road, not far from Altamonte Springs.
The girl said she first saw Geiersbach on Christmas Day, when she asked her how she was doing and wished her a merry Christmas, an arrest report said.
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She would later see Geiersbach daily while walking home from school and Geiersbach would greet her, the report said.
Deputies said the girl was walking home from school Thursday with her teenage brother when Geiersbach invited the child to her "secret hideout." They said the girl followed Geiersbach, but her brother intervened.
The report said Geiersbach ran toward the children and told the girl's brother to mind his business and told the girl that she didn't have to listen to him.
"Her older brother did exactly the right thing. He stepped in and kept that from happening," said Bob Kealing, a Sheriff's Office spokesman. "It's disturbing to know that you have this 21-year-old adult woman who is approaching this child again and again."
Later Thursday, while helping her mother take down the Christmas tree, the girl said she saw Geiersbach pacing on a sidewalk across the street from her home, investigators said.
When the girl exited the home, Geiersbach crossed the street to hug her, deputies said. They said Geiersbach asked the girl if she was uncomfortable, and she said she was and didn't want to be hugged.
"You don’t have to feel uncomfortable. It's not like I’m going to take you or kidnap you," Geiersbach is alleged to have said.
The girl told Geiersbach she was uncomfortable and re-entered her home, the report said.
Deputies said Felicia Embry, the girl's mother, followed Geiersbach, watched her return to the home in which she was living and called the Sheriff's Office.
Embry told Channel 9 on Tuesday that the ordeal seemed surreal.
"You always see the movies, and you always see and hear about it on the news, but you don't think it's going to happen to you," she said. "Clearly, it happens to (whomever)."
Geiersbach was arrested on battery and stalking charges. She was released from jail after paying bail and was taken to a crisis center.
Cox Media Group