MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two people have been arrested in connection with the June abduction and sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl in Miami, according to police.
Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa announced Friday the arrest of Juan Jimenez, 38, and his wife Nicole, 26, in New Orleans.
The case dates back to June when an 11-year-old special needs girl was walking home from school and abducted from the area of Northwest 15th Avenue and 50th Street. She was taken to another location where she was sexually assaulted, according to Miami Police.
The girl’s mother, Aurianna McNear, hopes the big break in the case will prompt other people including children to speak out about the people who preyed on them.
In this case, the accused predators were arrested after a tip from the public.
It’s the news she had been waiting for nearly two months to hear.
“I just want to give first thanks to God. He heard my prayers and all the other people in the community, the other parents that helped me look for her and I think that’s wonderful news,” McNear told CBS4 News. “We definitely can’t have people like that, you know, preying on our children so I am very that, you know, they caught these people just before school being started and I’m glad they’re bringing them back so they don’t do that in another state.”
“There’s a big sign of relief,” said McNear. “My daughter will understand it that these people are behind bars and can not hurt you. I just hope that this didn’t happen to any other kids and that parents and their children have the strength to come forward and speak up because this should not happen to them.”
“People need to be alert,” she said. “We have predators in our community.”
The Jimenez’ will be brought back to Miami for trial.
“Whenever a sexual battery occurs to everyone, it’s a devastating type of situation, especially when it happens to a kid, especially when it happens to someone with learning disabilities,” said Miami Police Chief Manual Orosa.
After the assault, Miami Police went door-to-door passing out flyers with a sketch of the man and woman they were looking for.
The girl was able to give officers a detailed description of the people who attacked her and her descriptions were excellent.
The mug shots are very close to the composite sketches of the suspects. Police said they initially questioned them during their investigation before the couple fled to New Orleans.
Now the police chief wants help from the public in finding the house where the girl was taken to and sexually assaulted.
“I do not believe that a man and wife all of a sudden decide to go pick up little kids and abuse them,” Orosa told CBS4′s Peter D’Oench.
“In my heart, I believe that he did. The manner in which it happened and the manner doing the luring and the preying, I’m sure this is not new to them,” said the girl’s mother.
The police chief said it’s not known why they chose the victim. They should be brought back to Miami from New Orleans after an extradition hearing. A tip from the public lead to their arrest.
A records check meantime found Juan Jimenez was arrested in 2005 for battery, stalking and domestic violence.
Neighbors say they were squatting at a home in Southwest Miami-Dade for 16 days until they left that home last week. Neighbor Rigoberto Carrigan told D’Oench, “They were definitely squatting. And they were talking on the phone all the time night and day and saying bad words all the time.”
Miami Police were also called to the Miami home of Nicole Jimenez’s mother after she complained to police that she wanted to be left alone.