For the second time in two weeks, an East Columbus Magnet Academy student has reported being sexually assaulted on her way to school.
Police say the 14-year-old girl told them she was walking to a bus stop Thursday morning on Steam Mill Road when a heavyset man forced her into the woods and assaulted her.
The girl was nearing the bus stop around 8:45 a.m. when the man approached her from behind near the intersection of Steam Mill Road and R.C. Allen Drive, said police Lt. John McMichael. The man pulled her into the woods west of the intersection, McMichael said
After the attack, the man walked south on R.C. Allen Drive. The girl came out of the woods and called her mother, who contacted police.
Police say the description the 14-year-oldl gave of her assailant does not match that given by a 12-year-old girl allegedly abducted and sodomized Jan. 6. Police have charged 20-year-old Marcus Louis Wade in that case. Wade is to have a hearing this morning in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
The two incidents happened in the same general area of east Columbus. Police said the 12-year-old was abducted while walking to East Columbus Magnet Academy, 6100 Georgetown Drive, and assaulted in a restroom at Belvedere Park, 726 Parkwood Drive. The 12-year-old described her abductor as a dark-complected black man in his 20s with short hair, clean-shaven except for some hair on his chin, 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet tall, and slender. The suspect in Thursday’s case was described as a black man with a dark complexion, 20 to 30 years old, 6-foot-1 and 230 to 270 pounds. The girl said he was muscular but fat, with short hair and some facial hair, possibly a mustache and goatee.
The 14-year-old noted a particular detail that was not in the 12-year-old’s description: The man had a lazy eye that pointed outward — meaning one eye appeared to look straight ahead as the other looked away. Of that detail, Police Chief Ricky Boren said: “A lot of those eyes will look in, and then some of them look out. This one looks out, to the right.”
The suspect was wearing a white zip-up hoodie, what may have been a red basketball jersey with a white shirt underneath, and baggy blue jeans. He also wore black cloth gloves with the letter “A” on at least one of them, police said.
Unlike in the Jan. 6 incident, the Muscogee County School District did not send out a warning to parents during the school day Thursday.
“We sent messages about ‘stranger danger’ previously, and asked parents not to let their kids walk to the bus stops unsupervised,” district representative Valerie Fuller said Thursday afternoon, before Columbus police released information on the 14-year-old’s report.
The school district at that time had not been informed of a new assault case, Fuller said.
Around 5 p.m. Thursday, the district sent out this e-mail:
“With knowledge of a recent report and arrest of a suspect in a case involving a child abduction/assault, parents and guardians are encouraged to closely monitor their child’s route to and from school. Parents are also encouraged not to allow their child to walk to school unsupervised, to help form neighborhood watch groups, contact their child’s school to participate or volunteer for safety programs or committees, and to call 911 to report suspicious or illegal activity. Parents are also encouraged to talk to their child about stranger danger. We thank local police, school administrators, teachers, students, parents and media for working with us to help make everyone aware of safety concerns as safety is priority for all.”
In a later e-mail Fuller said police notified the school district around 5 p.m., and she noted the assault did not happen on a school campus and was not reported to school administrators. She said the principal would send parents a message with safety tips.