A 14-YEAR-OLD girl has been abducted, dragged into bushes and sexually assaulted while walking home from school in the New South Wales Hunter region.
It happened moments after the young girl stepped off a bus on the Pacific Highway near South Street at Windale, in Lake Macquarie, about 3.30pm on Wednesday.
In a statement, a NSW Police spokesperson said the girl walked along Yertala Close after getting off the bus and entered “scrubland” where she was bailed up by a man armed with a knife.
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It’s alleged the man grabbed the girl, dragged her into bushes and sexually assaulted her before running off and driving away in a silver vehicle, police said.
The girl raced home and told her parents who in turn called police.
Emergency services attended the girl’s home where she was assessed by paramedics before being transported to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital for an examination.
The area where the attack took place has been taped off and declared a crime scene while detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad have set up a dedicated Strike Force to investigate the incident.
Police are pleading for information from the public to help track down the child’s attacker.
He has been described as being aged in his 30s or 40s and having a heavy build with a large belly, big legs, and prominent nose and lips.
He was last seen wearing a black hooded jumper, long dark-coloured pants, and white sneakers.
Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander John Kerlatec said the girl was being “exceptionally strong”, despite being traumatised by the incident.
“It is shocking – 3.30, daylight, clear day, with lots of people around – it just demonstrates how brazen this person is,” Detective Superintendent Kerlatec said.
“This is a serious matter and we as a community are abhorred by this issue.
“I’ve seen the matter out on social media, and I’ve seen the reaction of our community, and I can only agree with the things that are being said about this terrible crime.
“We’re eager to gather as much information about this crime so we can solve it quickly.”
Investigators are urging anyone who may have been in the Windale area on Wednesday afternoon and noticed something suspicious to contact police.
In particular, they want to speak with anyone with a dash-camera who may have been travelling on the Pacific Highway or South Street between 3pm and 4pm.
Anyone with any information that could assist police with their investigation is urged to come forward and call Belmont Police Station on (02) 4922 8899 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
If you are in immediate danger call 000 now. If you require advice or assistance, the following services offer counselling and support:
Lifeline 24/7 telephone crisis support 13 11 14
1800RESPECT 24/7 phone 1800 737 732
Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence phone 07 5591 1164
Bravehearts phone 1800 272 831
You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via nsw.crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.