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12-year-old girl raped in central El Paso while walking home from school
By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas -- A mother reached out to KFOX14 after her 12-year-old daughter was dragged into an alley and raped while walking home from middle school.
The attack happened near the intersection of Pershing and Altura Avenue, the same group of neighborhoods where residents had previously reached out to KFOX14 in September about a possible sexual predator being in the area.
At the time, those residents told KFOX14 they were dealing with break-ins, a man who was looking in through windows at children showering, and attempted kidnappings.
Now, they feel the situation has escalated.
"About three weeks ago, she was sexually assaulted -- she's 12 years old -- walking home from school," the girl's mother said. "She said that he was younger, but I believe he was a much older guy. She's 12 years old, so of course to her, everyone seems older. She didn't know him, though."
The names of family will not be given, in order to protect the identity of the victim.
She says her daughter is now terrified to step outside of her home.
"It's horrifying to know she can't even walk home, she can't walk anywhere without worrying somebody might do it again to her," the mother said.
The mother told KFOX14 her daughter was taken to Sierra Providence Medical Center, where a rape kit was used, and she met with a rape counselor from Sexual Trauma and Assault Response Services, a local support group. She also plans to put her in counseling.
"She's just been very, very withdrawn, of course really sad," her mother said. "I catch her a lot just crying. She's not herself; she's scared to walk now."
The victim's cousin worries about other children walking home from school and the elderly people living in the area.
"Our whole neighborhood is just very concerned about that rapist that hasn't been caught. My 12-year-old cousin was brutally assaulted," her cousin said. "That incident will affect her forever, and any other child he gets ahold of will be affected for life."
El Paso police told KFOX14 the rape is currently under an active investigation, but they also pointed out that crime as a whole in central El Paso is not up.
Police said a rapist who had been terrorizing Manhattan Heights, just up the street from the area where the rape took place, was captured earlier this year.
According to statistics from the Central Regional Command Center, central El Paso has seen a 7 percent decrease in crime in 2013, though stats for the specific neighborhood were not immediately available.
EPPD told KFOX14 they have not seen a rise in sexual assaults in the
Regardless, the victim's family told KFOX14 they no longer feel safe in the area.
"That perpetrator is still out there, and he's still able to violate children in the most heinous way that truly traumatizes them for the rest of their life," her cousin said.
"I just pray that he gets found and that he stops. He's changing a lot of lives, and I just think it's wrong," her mother said.