NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Police asked for the public’s help in finding a young suspect who raped a 14-year-old girl this week while she was on her way to school.
“When it comes to a 14-year-old girl, let’s have the community be the eyes and ears for police and help catch this person and get him off the streets,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. “We’re hoping the community will get a good look at this composite sketch and call us or call Miami-Dade Crimestoppers.”
Police said the attack happened just after 6:45 in the morning this past Wednesday in the area of Northeast 8th Avenue and 166th Street.
Zabaleta told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that the girl said while she was walking to school, a man approached her and told her he was a cop. He implied that he had a gun and then ordered her to a nearby wooded area where the sexual assault happened.
Before that suspect fled, he told the girl that he was not a cop.
The suspect is described as a white male who is 23 to 25 years old, about 5’5” tall and 155 pounds. He was wearing a black t-shirt and shorts and a black skully cap. He was also wearing red Nike sneaker with white shoe laces.
“When you’re telling people that you’re a police officer, you are going into the area of the trust of the community,” said Zabaleta. “That’s what really concerns police is that the police and the community have a good relationship. It is a tight relationship and we do not want people taking advantage of that trust. That’s why we take this very seriously.”
Zabaleta was not told what school the child was headed to. But the attack happened within three blocks of John F. Kennedy Jr. Middle School. That’s where parents told D’Oench that they were alarmed.
“I would think that a parent needs to be aware of this and be a lookout,” said Jennay Martinez.
She and her husband Vincent have a child at the JFK Jr. Middle School.
“Parents need to stick together as much as students,” Martinez said.
Her husband Vincent told CBS4, “I think parents need to stick together and get up early and drop their kids off at school. I wouldn’t let my kids walk to school. That’s not right, impersonating a police officer. I mean it is a crazy world that we live in.”
CBS4 spoke with high school students who had heard about the assault and were also concerned.
“I am looking over my shoulder,” said high school senior Mario Santoya. “Because anything could be happening to students at anytime. I wouldn’t think this would happen in this area. I’m kind of cautious now because anybody could be following me to my house.”
Outside the JFK Jr. Middle School, high school freshman Blenton Lafleche said he too had heard about the incident and said he hoped that police would find the suspect.
“I mean I have a little sister,” said Lafleche, “and I don’t want anything like that happening to my little sister.”
Anyone with information is urged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.