ATLANTA - More than 40 men, including pastors, veterans and businessmen, were on a mission Thursday to find the man who assaulted a 10-year-old girl.
The men went door-to-door, flagging down cars, giving out information and passing out fliers all in an effort to find the man who grabbed a girl as she walked to school, dragged her onto a secluded train in Mozley Park and sexually assaulted her.
The march comes a month after the incident and just days after most learned about the attack. Concern members of the community are wondering why it took over three weeks to alert them about the incident.
“It's important for everyone to realize you are talking about a ten year old child. It takes a long time to extract information that could be helpful to the investigation from a 10- year-old,” said Sgt. Warren Pickard.
Pickard, a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department, detailed the process involved in investigating the sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl at this northwest Atlanta park last month while responding to the concerns of residents who question why it took nearly three weeks for the department to go public with the case.
“Everyone can rest assure that the police have been working this case diligently since day one. On the second day, our officer went back out and walked the crime scene with the victim. We alerted the school she was associated with we reviewed video so the community in itself was aware and our officers were in the area working,” said Sgt. Pickard.
According to police, the girl was walking to her school off of Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard at around 9 a.m. on September 29 when a man came up behind her, dragged her onto a nearby park trail and sexually assaulted her.
This week, police released a sketch of the assailant from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He is described as a light-skinned black male in his early 20's with a short afro, brown eyes, ear rings in both ears, and a cut in his eyebrow.
Sgt. Pickard said because interviewing young victims of crime requires a certain expertise, the department must solicit assistance from outside the department.
“To be able to communicate to a child as it relates to a criminal term is very difficult you are talking about at 10-year-old. A 10-year-old really doesn't know the definition of a rape so we have a professional communicate with them in terms they understand so that we so that we can reasonably get the information we need to go forward,” said Pickard.
The interview itself takes time and since the sketch artist does not work exclusively for the Atlanta Police Departments, investigators have to get on their schedule as well. While that process was underway in this case Sgt. Pickard insists police took the necessary steps to insure area residents were alerted.
“Sometimes we rest on the public for help in solving these crimes but we have the skill set to do it and officers have been working diligently,” said Pickard.
Anyone with information on the case should call the Atlanta Police Department.