87ºF

Deputies release composite sketch of suspected attacker

Girl, 16, says man attempted to assault her on way to school bus Tuesday

photo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Detectives have released a composite sketch of a man suspected of attempted sexual battery on a 16-year-old Gainesville girl Tuesday morning.

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office is searching for the man, who deputies said attempted to sexually assault a teenager on her way to a Gainesville school bus stop.

Investigators said the teen told them she was walking to the bus stop on Southwest 75th Street around 7:15 a.m. when a man approached and began to follow her.

The victim said the man eventually pulled her to the ground and attempted to rip off her clothing, but she fought and screamed and was able to escape and call police.

"When he was attempting to tear her clothing off, she began to kick and scream and fight and was afraid of what was happening," Art Forgey of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday. "And whether it was that fight that she put up or something else, she was able to free herself and run."

Investigators said the girl had scratches on her stomach and her clothes were torn and dirty when they found her. She received medical attention as a precaution.

"The initial deputy arriving on scene said that she was still crying and very upset and visibly shaken," Forgey said. "Was he hiding out in the woods? Was he peeking in windows? You know, obviously, it's a serious situation that we need to try to get to the bottom of."

The girl described the attacker as a black male, approximately 40-50 years of age, with a bald head and wrinkles on his forehead. She also said he had a full beard that appeared to be recently groomed, but no mustache.

The victim said she had not seen the man in the area before.

Anyone with information or who recognizes the man in the sketch or the description is asked to call Detective Jeff Fricker at 352-367-4169. Callers may also remain anonymous and be eligible to receive a reward of up to $1,000 by calling Crime Stoppers at (352) 372-STOP (7867).