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Child abduction, sexual assault shakes Santa Ana neighborhood

July 17, 2012 | 12:47 pm

Police have released a sketch of a suspect wanted in the sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl who was brazenly abducted from a Santa Ana apartment complex as she played outside her home in the daylight.

The man, described as a heavy Latino in his 30s or 40s with a mustache and crew cut, snatched the girl Sunday about 6:30 p.m. from the Raitt Manor Apartments in the 1400 block of South Townsend Street.

The girl was playing outside with a 4-year-old boy when the man approached and said he had something for her mother, police said.

The man then picked the girl up and took her to his dark gray two-door sedan. Police say the suspect drove to a nearby parking lot where he sexually assaulted the child.

About two hours later, police said, the abductor returned the girl to the neighborhood where her parents and neighbors were frantically searching.

Police say the man was seen parked in the sprawling apartment complex in the hours before the abduction.

The complex, with children’s bicycles crowding balconies and toy-strewn yards, is within a block of three schools.

Nervous parents said Tuesday they’ve told their children not to roam alone.

“Stay inside. Don’t walk around the alleys. Don’t walk where it's quiet,” said one mother of four young boys, who asked that her name not be published.

Raul Rodriguez, who has lived in the complex for 17 years, said the neighborhood is usually safe and teeming with children. But now, he said, his brother, who is watching over six granddaughters, isn’t letting them out of his sight.

“People here are scared,” he said.


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--Mike Anton