Police: Child lured into woods & sexually assaulted

MARTIN COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - A 10-year-old girl was lured into the woods and sexually assaulted near the Manatee Creek community in Martin County around 4:30 Sunday afternoon, according to Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.

Detectives said the suspect told the child he lost his dog in the woods and needed help finding it.

The suspect is described as a white male, in his mid-20s, with short, dirty blonde hair. He is approximately 5'9" with a slim build. He was wearing a blue-and-white striped shirt and had some type of a cast or brace on one of his hands, Snyder said.

The suspected sexual assault happened in a wooded area near Cove Road and Dixie Highway, behind the Manatee Creek Park playground, according to Snyder.

Snyder said investigators combed the area for hours searching for the man. "We immediately responded with several road patrol vehicles, and then subsequently added to that," said Snyder. "We had a perimeter around this neighborhood for several hours. We had our helicopter out, and we had a canine tracking for the suspect."

Snyder said the alleged incident highlights a need for parents to take precautions. "This is every parent's nightmare," he said. "Parents, educate your children. Do not [et them] walk off with somebody that they don't know."

Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to contact the Martin County Sheriff's Office at 772.220.7170.

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