Sleeping 12-year-old attacked in Santa Rosa

June 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police in the North Bay are looking for a man who broke into a home through an open window and molested a 12-year-old girl. It happened on Aston Avenue in Santa Rosa, where neighbors are double checking their windows and doors at night.

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"I'm going to check my doors, my windows," says neighbor Jennifer Herrera.

People who live in the South Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa are being extra vigilant after a man molested a 12-year-old girl who was sleeping in her bedroom.

"They cut or removed the screen from the window. The window was unlatched and they entered through the window of the ground floor unit," says Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Lisa Banayat.

Police say the man then began touching the girl. That's when she yelled for help. Her father rushed to the room, but by that time the man had jumped out the window.

"I think it's awful that you know that little girl, it happens to them out here. Like I said it needs to be lit better out here," says neighbor Teresa Sears.

The suspect is believed to be about 40 years old and described as dark skinned, heavyset and about 5'5" tall.

Santa Rosa police are contacting state parole officers to see if anyone fits the description. They're also checking the status of registered sex offenders in the area.

As for the crime scene itself, detectives have collected fingerprints and interviewed neighbors. A few say they did in fact see a suspicious person in the area earlier in the evening. Nearby parents are seething wondering how they would react if this happened to their daughter.

"I would not know how to control myself. I would want to hurt somebody. Honestly," says resident John Gurrola.

Investigators say the suspect was unknown to the girl and her family, but they say he may have had advance knowledge of her.

"She is not physically injured, but we are of course, are offering her whatever resources we can to help her through this process," says Sgt. Banayat.

Police are hoping to come up with a composite sketch in hopes of triggering some leads.

Anyone with information regarding this or a similar attack is asked to contact the Santa Rosa Police Department's Domestic Violence/ Sexual Assault Team at (707) 543-3595.

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