View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


School on safety alert

Deputies search for suspect who grabbed female student

Posted: February 13, 2009 1:12 a.m.
Updated: February 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Sheriff's deputies and Placerita Junior High School officials canvassed the school's surrounding streets Thursday, searching for a suspect who grabbed a female student by the arm.

It was the second such incident involving a female Placerita student since Jan. 23 when a deputy arrested a man for annoying a child, a misdemeanor.

The 13-year-old girl said she was walking on South Fork Trail Wednesday near the bridge that leads to Newhall Avenue when she was approached by a man on a bicycle who started to talk to her, said Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

"She didn't respond, he then grabbed her left arm, she pushed his arm away and then she walked quickly away," Cambra said. "The suspect lingered behind the victim and then turned his back around and rode away."

The girl described the suspect as a 25-year-old Hispanic male, 5 feet 7 inches tall weighing about 170 pounds, Cambra said.

The girl went straight to a campus supervisor at the school's entry gate. The principal and assistant principal immediately phoned the sheriff's station and girl's mother, said Placerita Junior High Principal Michael Kuhlman.

"The girl did exactly what she was supposed to do," Kuhlman said.

Deputies went to the bike path and surrounding areas to look for any witnesses, Cambra and Kuhlman said.

Kuhlman called parents Wednesday night so they could make sure their children were safe going to and from school.

"I received a phone call from the school last night," said Linda Baldwin whose seventh-grade daughter attends the school. "It said there had been an incident with a young girl in the morning ... he just said, ‘We've just reminded the kids they should be walking in groups or pairs, not to walk alone ... if anyone attempts to talk to them to let an adult know.'"

Baldwin drops off and picks up her daughter everyday, so she is not worried about her daughter's safety so much as those students who have to wait for their parents, she said.

"It is disconcerting to know ... not just for my daughter but other kids as well," she said. "There are other parents that can't pick their kids up because they're at work so (their children) have to get home by walking or riding bikes."

Baldwin was also concerned because of the Jan. 23 incident when a man approached a different Placerita Junior High female student in a car.

A sheriff's deputy patrolling around the junior high school arrested the Newhall man for bothering a student while she was walking to school.

The 14-year-old girl said she noticed the man earlier in her walk because he seemed to be honking at her, a sheriff's station press release said.

As she turned the street, the man turned also. Deputy Robert Wilkinson saw the driver making physical contact with the girl.

Once he noticed the girl crying and making a hand motion indicating something was wrong, the deputy arrested the man for the misdemeanor charge of annoying children, the press release said.

Cambra said Thursday that suspect is still in custody and the two incidents are not related.

But Baldwin said her daughter expressed concerns to her that "someone might try to kidnap her," she said.

"I think it bothers her to think that there are people out there that might want to do something like that," Baldwin said.

Cambra and Kuhlman said they ramped up security around the school.

"I think I saw at least five sheriff's cars cruising the area and being visible this morning," Kuhlman said Thursday. "It was a good quiet day today and we've been told that (deputies) will continue their patrols in the area. Out of caution we (school officials) are out and extra vigilant to make sure kids are safe to and from school."

"I personally went out and stood out at the bridge today after dismissal until all the kids I could see found their way home," he said.

Teachers also took the last period Wednesday to talk to students about safe practices coming to and going home from school, Kuhlman said.

Deputies want to hear from anyone with information about the suspect.


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...