SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah residents in the Carver Heights neighborhood are keeping an extra eye on their children after an 11-year-old girl was attacked and raped on Monday afternoon in an abandoned house in the 1000 block of Cubbedge Street.
Police say the girl was taken by the suspect after she had already arrived home from school. Earlier reports that the girl was taken after she got off the bus and was on her way home are incorrect.
Several people who live around spoke after learning about the incident when the police showed up to the abandoned house on the street. Neighbors were shocked when they found out what actually happened.
The man who lives across the street said in the past, he's seen some suspicious people wandering around the area, but he did not notice or hear anything out of the ordinary on Monday afternoon. He says he's usually out in the yard, keeping an eye on the children as they get off the bus.
"Yeah, I was here at this time, but I was inside watching TV and everything until I saw the police officers. They asked me if I heard or saw anything, and I told them no," Ben Floyd said. "At 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I mean, it's pitiful. You know, it just doesn't make sense. I'm glad I didn't see anything."
"That's disturbing. I mean, that's a child," said Tonya Green, Savannah. "It's really bothering me because that's terrifying, because I have grandkids, and I wouldn't want that to happen to them."
Even those who don't have children, treat the ones in the area like their own. Especially for folks like Ben Floyd. He now realizes just how important it is for him to stick to his routine of being outside when the kids get off the bus.
"I don't have a choice. When I'm here, I have to keep a close eye out, because if they do it to one person, they'll do it again," Floyd said.
The suspect is described as a tall, chubby, middle-aged black male with short curly hair and a large stomach. During the incident, he wore a white shirt, a black Dickies brand bottom and visible plaid boxer shorts.
SCMPD released the following sketch of the suspect:
He was last seen running from the scene toward Gwinnett Street.
WTOC followed along with at least six campus police officers who went door-to-door Tuesday, warning residents about a 'stranger-danger' threat in the neighborhood. They are pleading with folks to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity and encouraging students to play it safe.
"We're encouraging students to use the buddy system walking home. Don't talk to strangers. If you do encounter a stranger, try to be within an arms-length of that stranger. If you are grabbed by a stranger, we encourage you to fight, kick, scratch, fall to the ground; do whatever...scream," said Sgt. Delvin Guilford, SCCPSS Campus Police. "We want children not to talk to strangers; to stay away."
Below is a map of all the alleged and confirmed sexual assaults and rapes that WTOC has reported on since the beginning of 2016 until the present:
The SCMPD is passing out these flyers throughout the neighborhood to spread awareness and tips: