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Girl, 13, Attacked En Route to School

October 17, 2003|Patricia Ward Biederman | Times Staff Writer

A man in a white van raped a 13-year-old girl after abducting her as she walked to school in Van Nuys on Thursday morning, police said.

Detectives said the girl later escaped by jumping out of the van when the assailant stopped near the school.

The man was standing by the van about 7 a.m., as the girl and a friend walked to Robert Fulton Middle School, near Saticoy Street and Kester Avenue, said Los Angeles Police Capt. Jim Miller.

Miller said the rapist -- described as Latino, 35 to 50 years old, and 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 9, with a chunky build and curly brown hair -- forced the girl into the van at gunpoint, drove her to a secluded spot nearby and sexually assaulted her. Her friend ran to the school for help.

The van is believed to be an older-model, full-sized Chevrolet with a decal on the windshield that reads "Chevy."

At a news conference Thursday evening, police urged anyone with information to call Los Angeles Unified School District Police at (213) 625-6631, or the Los Angeles Police Department at (213) 485-2921 or (877) 529-3855.

The school district's police deputy chief, Larry Manion, appealed directly to students who may have seen the crime, calling them valuable witnesses.

"If you saw something, or if you know anything about this, you can talk to us privately," he said.

"Parents have been advised of the situation," said Robert Collins, a school district official. "And again we are advising parents to talk to their children about being extra cautious and careful in walking to school. It's just distressing to know there are people like this who are capable of this kind of crime."

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