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Transient sought in 10-year-old girl's kidnapping, sexual assault

March 31, 2013|By Rosanna Xia

The suspect in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a young Northridge girl last week is a transient with an extensive criminal history, police said.

Tobias Dustin Summers is the primary focus of the police investigation, LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said at a news conference Saturday afternoon at police headquarters downtown.

Police said Summers frequented North Hollywood and other areas of the San Fernando Valley.

It isn't known why the 10-year-old victim was targeted.

"We have no information that the family knew this individual or that this individual knew any members of the family," Albanese said.

Summers has a criminal history back to 2002 that includes charges of kidnapping, robbery, explosives possession and petty theft, Albanese said. Summers is not a registered sex offender, but authorities said he was arrested on suspicion of battery in 2009 in a case that involved child annoyance.

He was released from custody in July 2012 because of a new law that transfers authority over some felons from state prisons to county jails and, on their release, from state parole to county probation departments. The law, also known as public safety realignment, was intended to reduce overcrowding in state prisons.

The girl told investigators that two men were involved in the incident and that she was taken to multiple locations in different vehicles, according to law enforcement sources. But police said Summers was the primary focus of their investigation.

"We're trying to go through this slowly and methodically because we don't want to overwhelm her. She's a 10-year-old girl," LAPD Capt. William P. Hayes said after Saturday's news conference.

On Wednesday, the girl's mother told authorities she last saw her daughter in her room at about 1 a.m. At about 3:40 a.m., police said, the mother heard a noise. When she went to check on her daughter, the girl was gone.

Police conducted a house-by-house search of the neighborhood, and the FBI joined the investigation. Shortly before 3 p.m., a man spotted the girl in a parking lot about six miles from her home and pointed her in the direction of nearby police.

She was found with cuts and bruises, some to her face, near a Starbucks. In news helicopter footage, she appeared to be barefoot and wearing clothing different from what she had on when she was last seen.

LAPD officials said they believe the girl was dropped off at a Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. She then walked toward the Starbucks.

The girl was initially identified by The Times, citing authorities, after she went missing. However, it is the policy of The Times not to identify victims in cases of alleged sexual crimes.

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