Neighbors say they caught suspect in sex abuse of 11-year-old girl, but now he might be released

CHICAGO (CBS) — A possible break has emerged in the case of an 11-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted walking home from school last week.

Neighbors say they held down the man who they believe was behind the attack, until Chicago Police arrived.


Questions linger in case of sexual abuse of 11-year-old girl

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Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Monday night, Chicago Police will only say the investigation was ongoing. But the girl’s mother told CBS 2 that even though a suspect was taken into custody, there is a possibility he might get released due to a technicality.

That is leaving the family furious.

As we reported earlier Monday, police released a sketch of the man suspected in the attack and sexual assault on the 11-year-old girl in the Washington Park neighborhood. 

sexual-assault-sketch.jpg

Around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the girl was dragged into an alley behind the 6200 block of South Indiana Avenue and sexually abused on her way home from school along a Safe Passage route.

The girl was able to break free and run away, and the assaulter fled. 

The sketch of the suspect quickly spread in the Washington Park neighborhood and online. At some point Monday, those in the community saw a man matching the description and confronted him.

They held him down, and then gave a FaceTime call to the child’s mother – who snapped a screenshot and then sent it to girl’s grandmother, who was with the girl herself.

But because the child was shown the image, the family says police tell them the investigation might now be tainted – and the man’s arrest may not stand.

But the girl’s grandmother said her granddaughter had no doubt that the man she saw in the screenshot was the man who attacked her.

“She started shaking real bad, started crying, saying: ‘That’s him! That’s him!’ We had to hold her, because she was shaking real bad, so I knew she knew what she was talking about,” said the grandmother, Lutia Payne Midcalf. “She said she’ll never forget that face, ever.”

Terry asked the girl’s mother, Lissy Wakefield, if she was optimistic that police will find the evidence to make the allegations against the man stick.

“I pray in Jesus’ name that that do,” Wakefield replied.

Community activist Andrew Smith said the family is taking action.

“So tomorrow morning, we’re calling on Mayor Lightfoot, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, and Superintendent Brown to act as if it’s their child – act as if it’s their little daughter – and get involved,” he said.

“Don’t let him out,” Wakefield added. “He’s a danger to society.”

The family is adamant that police have the right man in custody, and they are planning a rally outside Chicago Public Safety Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave., on Tuesday morning.

On Monday night, the CPD was not commenting on how the community stepped up to help catch the man, nor on the person they have in custody.

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