If you know him, tell someone

Published 8:22 pm Thursday, October 24, 2013

Evil stared out along Route 58 in the form of a police artist’s sketch of the face of a man authorities say abducted and sexually assaulted an 11-year-old Carrollton girl.

Driving past the electronic billboard recently, it struck me that people know and are protecting this man.

More than three weeks have passed since, according the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office, a depraved man forced the girl into a car at her bus stop, drove her around for four hours and sexually assaulted her at two rural locations.

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Sexual predation of a minor is among the most despicable crimes humans are capable of. This man may have attacked other children, and he could strike again. That’s something his protectors should think about long and hard.

Asked yesterday if investigators have turned up anything the public could be updated on, Capt. Rick Gaddis of the sheriff’s office, replied, “Honest answer: No.”

The investigation continues, he said, with the FBI and Virginia State Police continuing to work the case with the sheriff’s office.

As of the end of Wednesday, investigators had received more than 400 leads, Gaddis said.

“One of the things that we ask of folks — and we don’t want to discourage anyone from calling with any small thing — (is) we hope that they will pay attention to the written description of the suspect, and not focus solely on the artist’s sketch drawing,” he said.

“We’re getting a lot of tips (such as) ‘That looks like John Doe,’ and we spend hours tracking them down to find John Doe is six-foot-four, weighs 280 pounds and has black hair.”

The girl said her attacker was an older white male aged in about his 40s, with medium build, 5 feet 8 inches tall, and weighing 175 pounds.

He had short blond hair, she said, and a thin blond beard shot with gray in a strip from temple to temple. No mustache.

Other features included bushy blonde eyebrows, blue eyes, large full lips, slightly yellowed teeth, wide nose, small hands, and freckles all over his body and face.

He reportedly wore small, round, brown eyeglasses low on his nose, cut-off blue jeans, a tan T-shirt and blue tennis shoes.

The car had a black and gray interior, leather or vinyl seats, manual roll-up windows, and pieces missing from a section of cracked dash. The girl said it was newer-looking outside but seemed older on the inside.

That the suspect is still at large after such an astute description is frustrating, Gaddis said.

“We strongly suspect that the person that has the answer is out there and may be hesitating for whatever reason,” he said.

There’s probably more than one person who would recognize the description, and possibly each with different reasons for the hesitation.

If the suspect is someone close to you — even your son, uncle or brother — consider the nature of the crime — what the girl was put through and lives with — and the possibility he’ll strike again. If he’s threatened you, don’t believe his lies that authorities can’t protect you from him. Know that by remaining silent, you share his guilt.

Sheriff Mark Marshall told reporters the girl’s attacker showed signs of remorse: He told her he would take her home, and did so, dropping her back at the bus stop four hours later.

Next time, this man might master his remorse and take his crime a step further.

Someone needs to find the courage to speak out.