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UPDATED: Teen attack third in six weeks

Cops urge students to be vigilant, not to walk alone

Posted: March 10, 2009 5:57 p.m.
Updated: March 11, 2009 11:00 a.m.
 
Sheriff's officials are warning students to be extra vigilant walking to and from school following the third attack on a Santa Clarita Valley student this year.

"We are advising kids to travel in groups and be aware of their surroundings," sheriff's Sgt. Darren Harris said Tuesday.
Investigators do not believe the incidents are related.

In the latest attack, a man grabbed a 16-year-old who was walking home from school in Canyon Country, threw her in the back of a Toyota Camry and groped her.

"Investigators are working the case and it's been assigned to our special victims bureau," said Sgt. Darren Harris of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

The suspect, described as a white man in his 40s, attacked the girl near the intersection of Begonias Lane and Shadow Pines Boulevard about 4 p.m. last Wednesday, Harris said.

The victim told deputies a man followed her in a dark-colored Toyota Camry as she walked home from school, Harris said. When she turned around and tried to flee, the suspect tried to smother her with a blanket and drag her into the back of his car.

The suspect pinned the girl down in the back of the car and groped her, Harris said.

A male teenager came to the victim's aid. "A bystander pulled the suspect off the girl and she fled," Harris said. Deputies are trying to find out who saved the victim.

"We are very confident we will be able to contact him," Harris said.

Deputies describe the suspect as white male, between 40 and 45 years old, standing 6 feet tall and weighing about 180 pounds.
Wednesday's attack was not the first in which a stranger tried to grab a child walking to or from school.

Omar Valle, whose real name is Eudiqio Melqiades, was arrested for molesting a female Placerita Junior High School student Jan. 23. On Feb. 27, Valle pleaded guilty to molesting the student and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and ordered to register as a sex offender.

Valle tried to grab the student, who began crying and waving her hands. Deputy Robert Wilkinson, patrolling the area, saw the child signaling for help, rushed to the student's aid and arrested Valle.

A second man attempted to accost a Placerita Junior High student on her way to school Feb. 12.

A 13-year-old girl said she was walking on South Fork Trail near the bridge that leads to Newhall Avenue when she was approached by a man on a bicycle who started to talk to her, Lt. Brenda Cambra said.

"She didn't respond, he then grabbed her left arm, she pushed his arm away and then she walked quickly away," Cambra said.

The girl described the suspect as a 25-year-old Hispanic male, 5 feet 7 inches tall weighing about 170 pounds, Cambra said. No arrests have been made in that case.

Deputies don't believe the Feb. 12 incident and last Wednesday's attack are connected, Harris said.

Anyone with information on either incident is asked to call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station at (661) 255-1121.

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