Local sheriff’s detectives looking for the man who tried to kidnap a 12-year-old girl at a soccer practice in Bridgeport earlier this month released a sketch of the suspect Tuesday in hopes someone will recognize him.
“Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspect,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, told The Signal Tuesday.
“We are encouraging the public to call us,” she said. “Often someone will have a hunch and will hesitate to call, thinking ‘What if I’m wrong?’”
“But they should call,” Miller said.
The attempted kidnapping happened Oct. 4, about 5:45 p.m., in the park on Newhall Ranch Road when a man in a black sedan tried to kidnap a girl playing soccer at Bridgeport Park.
The girl fought back and broke free of the man’s clutches.
Since then, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station have been trying to find the man by finding the car.
On Tuesday, however, sheriff’s officials released composite of the man they believe is responsible for the thwarted kidnapped attempted.
Deputies searching for the suspected kidnapper, however, have already been driving around with a copy of the composite sketch, Miller said Tuesday.
“Detectives and patrol deputies were given copies of the sketch prior to its being released to the public,” Miller said. “They’ve had it. It was sent out when deputies were briefed before they went on patrol.”
The good news is, however, that there have been no other reported cases of an attempted kidnapping since the Oct. 4 incident, she said.
“On Oct. 4, 2017, at approximately 5:45 p.m., the victim, a 12-year-old girl, fell behind while she running with her sports team in the Bridgeport Park area of Valencia when she was approached by a man who offered her a ride,” Miller wrote in a news release issued Tuesday.
“After the victim declined, the suspect grabbed her arm and pulled her toward the direction of his vehicle. The victim fought back and managed to get away from the suspect,” Miller wrote.
The suspect is described as a male, white, 40-50 years old, 6’0”, medium build and short brown hair, with a mole or birthmark adjacent to his right eyebrow.
The suspect’s vehicle is described as an older model black Toyota or Honda, 4-doors, tinted windows, with a dent on the passenger’s side.
Asked about the public’s response to the sketch and, specifically, about how many tips were received, Miller said; “It’s too early to tell.”
Parents of young soccer players, meanwhile, remain vigilant against a repeat incident happening.
In an email message sent to them from soccer practice organizers with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) United, they were advised:
“The player was shaken up but thankfully, she is alright.
“The sheriffs were called and a report was taken. Evidently it is not the first time this has happened. There was a similar incident a few weeks ago near Heritage Park.
“As parents, we need to be aware of our surroundings and that of our children. We need to talk to our children about strangers and the dangers they can present. We also need to make sure they know what to do if this should ever happen to them. You just never know when something could happen.”
If anyone has information regarding the identification of this suspect, please contact Detective Bryne, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, (661) firstname.lastname@example.org 661-287-5527 on Twitter @jamesarthurholt