A 12-year-old East Columbus Middle School student was abducted and sexually assaulted by an unidentified man while she was walking to school Wednesday morning, a school district spokesperson and Columbus police said.
The girl was walking to school sometime before 8:30 a.m. when she was taken, said Valerie Fuller, director of communications for the Muscogee County School District. The student later reported to school administrators and security what happened, Fuller said. The student is safe now and school security and Columbus police are investigating.
“She was kidnapped at gunpoint, taken to a park here in town, sexually assaulted and released,” said police Lt. Charles Kennedy. Principals at East Columbus, Georgetown Elementary, Kendrick High and the Early College Academy notified parents of children at those schools of the incident through the district’s Connect-ED messaging services.
The suspect is a black man in his 20s with a dark complexion, clean shaven with short-cut hair, Kennedy said. He’s slender and between 5-foot-11 and 6-foot. At the time, he was wearing a black or gray long-sleeved flannel shirt with a T-shirt over it, dark denim pants with a symbol on the back pocket and white Air Force 1 shoes.
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He was in a gold or tan/gold vehicle that could have been a Dodge Durango.
Kennedy said there was no relationship between the girl and the suspect.
Fuller said the district is encouraging parents to talk with their children about the incident and make them aware of safety precautions if someone should attempt to approach them or entice them to enter a vehicle. Fuller said they are also asking the community to be vigilant.
— Staff writer Alan Riquelmy contributed to this story.