Twelve-year-old fights off abduction attempt - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Twelve-year-old fights off abduction attempt

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By Chuck Weber email

PALM SPRINGS, FL (WFLX) - A 12-year-old girl was almost kidnapped on her way to school Monday. But Palm Springs Police say the girl repeatedly kicked her attacker and she got away unharmed. As of early Monday evening, the man is still on the loose.

It happened on Lake Worth Road, just west of Congress Avenue, as the girl walked to her school bus stop.

Palm Springs Police Lt. Sal Abruscato said the girl told him and his officers, a man wearing a bandana came from behind and grabbed her. "She was frightened, but she wasn't injured," said Lt. Abruscato.

"She put up a hellacious fight," continued Abruscato. "She just kept kicking him in the legs, because that's all she had free was her feet. She just kept kicking and kicking. Guess it hurt. He just dropped her."

The girl told investigators she believed the man was homeless and described him as African-American, bald, and muscular, wearing a white tank top. The girl said the man took off into a wooded area behind several Lake Worth Road businesses. Using a helicopter and dogs, police scoured the woods, but came up empty-handed.

Early Monday evening, the girl's father told CBS 12 he is relieved his daughter is safe. The man said, "Hopefully this will stir someone to do something" about the condition of the overgrown property, which was the target of the search.

The father said his older daughter usually walks the 12-year to her bus stop. From now on, the father said he would do it himself.

Dalia Hernandez owns a U-haul rental store in front of the woods. She said the incident does not surprise her. "Around here anything could happen because a lot of these people are drinking all the time," said Hernandez.

Both Hernandez and police say the woods are known as a haven for the homeless. Sometimes, Hernandez says, transients hop her fence and sleep in her trucks.

"I think we need more police checking this area," offered Hernandez. "Because there's a lot of homeless in here and they're begging for money all the time. You know, it's kind of scary."

What can we learn from the incident? "That's one thing you can do," said Lt. Abruscato, "just fight, fight, fight. Don't ever give up. She did the right thing. She fought the whole way. I was proud of her. I told her that several times."

If you know anything about the incident, call Palm Springs Police or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.

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