UPDATE: Community Meeting to Address Rape of 11 Year old

Police beef up presence in historic Carver Village a day after a kidnapping and sexual assault victimizing an 11 year old girl.

As the search continues for the man responsible for the rape of an 11 year old girl in Carver Heights, neighbors continue to get more worried and angry.

Savannah police held a news conference Wednesday to try and dispel any rumors about the attack.

Police say the girl was “not” pulled from a school bus or grabbed while walking home. She was taken from her home at gunpoint, then taken to a nearby abandoned house and raped.

Carver Heights neighbors like Angie Johnson, who has three children, say they are worried, and wondering why police haven’t been around more before this.

“Since I have been here there has been little to none police presence,” explained Johnson. “When you hear a call you hear the siren and they show up. But as far as me seeing anyone patrolling the area, that’s something i don’t see. Patrolling on a regular daily basis, I don’t see that. Unless they are here when i’m not here. But i’m here almost all the time.”

Savannah police were there Wednesday night for a specially called community meeting.

SCMPD Assistant Chief Julie Tolbert and Captain John Best talk to gathered crowd at Carver Heights community meeting
SCMPD Assistant Chief Julie Tolbert and Captain John Best talk to gathered crowd at Carver Heights community meeting
Crowd of people listening to details of 11 year old assault during Carver Heights meeting
Crowd of people listening to details of 11 year old assault during Carver Heights meeting

They were joined by Savannah-Chatham Schoolboard police and neighborhood leaders to talk about what happened.

Dozens of people came out to the community center to listen and to ask questions about safety of their kids and themselves.

Savannah Police are calling finding the suspect their “number one priority”.

But officers say they can’t do it alone. They need help from the eyes and ears of the people who live here.

“We are asking you from the time the children so to school in the morning and the time they come back in the afternoon,” Rev. Chester Ellis, Carver Heights Neighborhood President told the gathered crowd. “You don’t have to confront anybody, just sit on your porch, go stand in the yard, your presence will deter folks from doing things they should not be doing.”

Carver Heights leaders say the community is already  responding.

They got a dozen or more people tonight alone to sign up for a “senior watch”. Senior citizens who are home all day working together to keeping an eye on kids as they go to and come from the bus each day.

Police beef up presence in historic Carver Village a day after a kidnapping and sexual assault victimizing an 11 year old girl.
Police beef up presence in historic Carver Village a day after a kidnapping and sexual assault victimizing an 11 year old girl.

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(SAVANNAH) A brutal attack on a preteen girl triggers an enhanced police presence in one Savannah community. That action in Historic Carver Village comes just a day after a school girl is attacked in broad daylight. The 11 year old victim was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man as she walked home from her bus stop Mondayy. She was reportedly forced into an abandoned house at 1013 Cubbedge Street shortly after exiting her school bus on Monday.

The crime prompts the police department within the Savannah Chatham County Public School System to walk the neighborhood where the attack occurred. More than a half dozen officers were passing out safety information to people living there, because everyone in the neighborhood does not have children in school. Sgt. Delvin Guilford leads the team of officers. He says there is some urgency to share the information. “The person is still at large, so he is a stranger to many.” said Guilford, agreeing that the suspect is dangerous. When asked about the suspects chances of attacking another child? “Well, a lot of times when people don’t get caught, um, to them that’s a successful mission, um, he will be caught I’m sure.” Guilford confidently answered.

Chester Ellis, President of the Historic Carver Village Neighborhood Association, says the crime topped the agenda of a meeting held just hours after the attack. “Folks were trying last night, to uh, take the description and, and talk about who we know out there that fit that description…ya’ know, and uh, we didn’t come up with any ah, names and so I’m just wondering now if it’s someone who’s just drifting in and out of the community. Folks who were in the meeting looked at, you know, that could have been my grandchild or that could have been my great-great grandchild.” said Ellis. He shares the community plan to add another layer of protection for the kids in the community. “The short term solution is for us to be on patrol at certain times, um, just to see, you know, watching what’s suspicious, and we’re asking out neighbors now to spend more time at the window.” said Ellis.

Sergeant Guilford says the more eyes watching the streets, the better. His message to kids: Fight back! He says “If a stranger grabs you, drop to the ground, kick, fight, scream, bite. Do whatever, um, scream. try to bring as much attention….even if you have to say things like this is not my dad. This is not my mom.” Guilford said. He adds another thing the neighborhood watch is doing to enhance community protection is to get retireees to ride around their community during the hours kids are out of school, 3-7pm.” said Ellis, adding the extra measures, including adding retirees to the roads in Carver Village during the hours after school dismiss. Ellis says the plan starts immediately.

The suspect in the attack remains at large Tuesday evening. He’s described as a tall chubby, middle aged man with short curly grey hair. He was wearing a white shirt, black pants and plaid boxer shorts. Police ask anyone who saw anything or have information in this case to call Crimestoppers anonymously at (912)-234-2020. All information can remain anonymous and cash rewards are available for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Ellis says the neighborhood association will try to assist the victim and victim’s family obtain counseling services to deal with the trauma of the attack.

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