WILTON MANORS (CBSMiami) – The Wilton Manors Police Department needs the public’s help to find a sexual battery suspect.
Tuesday, investigators released a composite sketch of a man wanted for performing sex acts with two girls on the Kids In Distress property located at 819 NE 26th Street. Kids in Distress is a shelter for abused and neglected children.
According to police, the suspect started talking to two teenage girls through a fence at 3:30 a.m. on January 7th, 2013.
The man then jumped the fence and performed sex acts with the girls on the property.
The suspect is described as a white man, 5’7” – 5’9”, between 150 – 175 pounds, blue or green eyes, with short brown hair with a military style cut.
He may have a tattoo on his left shoulder and has a gunshot scar on his right shoulder. Police said suspect was possibly in the military and stated he recently lost his wife.
Don Ruiz lives across the street from Kids in Distress. He says he rises early to walk his dog and often sees people hopping the fence from both directions. He says on several occasions the young people have knocked on doors asking to use someone’s phone.
“I get up at 3:30 in the morning,” he told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “I see kids jump out of the fence. I don’t know what kind of security there is inside the fence — that could be causing a problem for (Kids in Distress). I’ve called called the cops, what two times now?”
Neighbors say what makes it worse is that young people who come to Kids in Distress for emergency shelter are already the victims of abuse and neglect. Wilton Manors Police say the attacker victimized them again.
“That’s really horrible,” said Philip Magri. “It’s gut-wrenching actually.”
The CEO from Kids in Distress, Mark Dhooge, did not want to speak on camera and told CBS 4’s Carey Codd that he did not want to discuss security at the facility. Kids in Distress did release a statement saying, “It is premature to make a statement at this time during an ongoing investigation. We are cooperating fully with the police and will examine their findings to take swift and appropriate action where warranted.”
The CEO did say that the teens no longer live at the shelter and are back in foster care.
The Kids in Distress website indicates that abused and neglected children are referred to the agency through ChildNet in Broward County. Elizabeth Wynter, Director of Community Relations for ChildNet, released this statement late Tuesday night:
“We understand that the police are investigating an incident that occurred at Kids in Distress. It would be premature to comment on an ongoing police investigation but we will examine their findings and take action as needed to protect children in care.”
People who live nearby say they feel safe here but want this guy captured.
“Hopefully they catch him,” said Ed Starkey. “I have faith in the police department.”
Anyone recognizing the suspect, or with information regarding his identity is encouraged to call Detective Fiacco at 954-390-2165 or Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.