Call detectives if you see this child rape suspect

Call detectives if you see this child rape suspect
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A transient could be responsible for kidnapping and raping a 6-year-old girl.

The Kern County Sheriff's Office released a composite image of the suspect late Monday. The reported abduction allegedly happened that afternoon as the child played in her yard near the area of Buckley Avenue and Garber Way, near East Panama Lane and South Union Avenue in southeast Bakersfield.

"We are getting tips and we're following up on those tips," sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt told Eyewitness News Tuesday afternoon. Officers flooded the area all day, talking to people and handing out fliers with the sketch.

"I saw it earlier," neighbor Luis Valenzuela said. "My wife called me crying, because it happened here on the side of our house."

Officers say the man forced the girl to an isolated area and sexually assaulted her before running off. It was about 3:30 p.m.

"For a suspect to be this brazen, to commit this type of crime in broad daylight, where he could easily be seen, it gives us cause for concern," Pruitt said -- calling the suspect "dangerous."

Pruitt said the child suffered injuries in the incident, and she was taken to a hospital for treatment of the injuries.

"My daughter knows that little girl," Valenzuela said. "So, our hearts go out to the girl and her family." He didn't have any information on the child's condition.

Investigators say the suspect could go by the name of Eric or Eddie. He was described as an Hispanic man in his 30's, being 5-foot-10 and 250 pounds.

Pruitt said officers talked to several witnesses. Some neighbors reported seeing a man loitering in the area before the assault.

"We also had some information from family members who saw the suspect as he was running from the area," Pruitt said.

Officers think the suspect may live in, or frequent, the Rexland Acres area. They say he could be a transient.

Jason Hunt was approached by an officer in the area Tuesday morning. "He just asked me if I know this guy or seen him around," Hunt said. "I've never seen the guy."

Hunt had a cart with items for recycling, and suggested if the suspect's a transient, he might be familiar at recycling centers in the area.

Eyewitness News checked at two of them, no one recognized the composite on the wanted flier.

"I've never seen him, never," Hank William said. But, he's sure everyone is keeping an eye out for the suspect. "Everybody's trying to hunt him down," William said. "To do that to a kid. I mean, that's a baby."

Near the victim's home, one neighbor said he thinks he spotted the suspect for a couple days, early in the morning. The neighbor said the suspect could be a homeless person.

At his home, Valenzuela is worried about safety. He has young children. "That's why I left work early, so I could come over here and finish building this fence," the father said. "And I'm going to go get a guard dog."

Anyone with information helpful to the investigation is asked to call detectives at (661) 861-3110 or the Secret Witness hotline at 322-4040.

Pruitt said Sheriff deputies are working the area, trying to locate the suspect, and they've passed information on to Bakersfield Police officers to get their help, too.

"We're confident we're going to be able to locate this suspect," Pruitt said. "Identify him, and get him into custody."