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News Release

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Media Relations

Young Girl Separated From Her Parents Falls Prey To A Sexual Attack

"Young Girl Separated from Her Parents Falls Prey to a Sexual Attack"


Panorama City - On Monday, March 19, 2001, a twelve year-old Hispanic girl was observed by a Good Samaritan in the area of Noble Avenue and Roscoe Boulevard in Panorama City. The Good Samaritan saw the young girl for two days wandering in the area and felt something was wrong. The citizen befriended the young girl and took her home.

The 12 year-old girl told the Good Samaritan that approximately three weeks earlier, she and her parents tried to cross the Mexican border into the United States. The girl’s family hired a "Coyote" (smuggler) to help them cross the border. During the crossing, the 12 year-old girl was separated from her family and was brought to the Los Angeles Area by the Coyote. The girl was then abandoned in Panorama City near Tobias Avenue and Chase Street.

Lost and disoriented, the girl was able to survive in the streets with help and goodwill of local merchants. The girl had no money or way to contact her family. Unfortunately, on Monday, March 12, 2001, at approximately 10 p.m., two male African-American men found the girl, forced her into a car, and sexually assaulted her. The girl was then dropped off near the 405 Freeway and Roscoe Boulevard.

The Good Samaritan contacted the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), telling them of the circumstances, and DCFS responded to the Good Samaritan’s home and took the 12 year-old girl into protective custody. DCFS called the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate the crimes committed against the young girl.

The Los Angeles Police Department, Robbery-Homicide Division, Rape Special Section is conducting the investigation and attempting to locate the girl's family. After needed medical attention and rest, the young girl is scheduled to be interviewed today by Robbery-Homicide Division—Rape Special Section Detectives. It has not yet been determined whether the young girl is Mexican or a citizen of another Central or South American country.

The suspects are described only as two African-American men, and may be travelling in a blue, 4-door mid-sized Honda.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to please contact Detective Herrera, Robbery-Homicide Division, Rape Special Section, at 213 763-5060 or Detective Headquarters Division, off-hours, at 213-485-2504.

This Press Release was prepared by Officer Eduardo Funes, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.

*** UPDATE ***

On Wednesday, March 21, 2001, detectives from Robbery-Homicide Division, Rape Special section, interviewed the victim. The victim admitted she had fabricated the crossing of the Mexican Border. The victim has lived with her parents in the Rampart Area of Los Angeles for the last two years. The victim ran away from home on March 2, 2001 and has been living on the street. The investigation of the sexual assault is continuing.