Police say they have had an overwhelming response from the community providing information on the abduction and sexual assault of a schoolgirl in Newcastle.
On her way to Belair Public School on Tuesday morning, the 11-year-old walked through Adamstown Heights’ Hudson Park where she was accosted by a man armed with a knife.
The man sexually assaulted her before forcing her into a red sedan and driving her to nearby bushland where she was sexually assaulted again before being released five hours later.
The perpetrator is described as having a chubby build with short, dark, messy hair, wrinkles around his mouth, and was wearing dark grey and black hoodie.
Appeal for dashcam and CCTV footage
Commander of the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec said they have received numerous phone calls from the public which have been valuable in the hunt for the man.
But he said there is still more the community can do.
“We’re calling on anyone that may have any information whether that be dashcam or any device, home system CCTV, that may have something unusual or suspicious, regardless of how remote they may think it is,” he said.
“It may be the missing piece of our jigsaw.”
Police are also letterboxing local residents in an effort to get witnesses to come forward.
More resources amid community concerns
Detective Superintendent Kerlatec said they are throwing all possible resources at the case amid growing community concern.
“I share their concern, it’s worrying that this horrendous crime happened in broad daylight on a young girl,” he said.
“She’s been through an horrendous ordeal.
“I can’t put words as to how she must be feeling.
“I can only imagine it would be extremely distressing.”
11 year old school girl was snatched from Hudson Park on June 12, 2018. (ABC News: Colin Kerr)
He said the young girl and her family are receiving the appropriate support.
“I know she’s been supported by family and friends, and counsellors from the John Hunter Hospital,” he said.
“But, as I said, she’s very brave — she’s still helping us with our investigation.”
Teachers reinforce safety messages
A spokesman for the Department of Education said the school has emailed parents and sent a letter home with students.
They have been offered counselling, and teachers have been reminding students about important parts of the New South Wales Police ‘Safe People, Safe Places’ program.
The girl and her family have also been offered counselling and support by the department.