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4:12 PM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Case of sexual abuse of 15-year-old girl still open

The case of a 15-year-old girl who reported sexual abuse by an unknown man on Dec. 18 remains open, according to Prescott Valley Police Chief Bryan Jarrell.

The alleged assault happened near the Prescott Valley Public Library, police said later that week on Dec. 21. “The case will remain open until (police) learn of additional leads … or if someone comes forward,” Jarrell said this week.

The Prescott Valley Police Department has done interviews with people who frequent the area, including school children and adults, said Deputy Chief James Edelstein. “It’s our job to follow the evidence,” he said, adding that investigators have talked to possible witnesses and reviewed video of the area at the time.

Edelstein said the incident does not appear on the video.

The victim reported that, between 2:30 and 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, she was walking between the library and the Civic Center, 7501 E. Civic Circle, when a man grabbed her from behind, placed his hand over her mouth, and said, “Be quiet. If you make a sound I will hurt you,” police related.

The man then placed an unopened pocket knife on her leg and said if she screamed, he would use it, the Courier previously reported. The girl told police that he touched her all over her body, and then told her to close her eyes and count to 60 while he ran. The suspect said he had a friend with a gun in the bushes who would shoot her if she disobeyed.

The victim was unable to give a detailed description of the man except to say he had a deep voice. She saw no one when she opened her eyes, police said.

Edelstein said PVPD’s family violence unit began working the case Dec. 19 and that the victim was unavailable until Dec. 20 for a full interview due to prior engagements. The police released a public plea seeking more information on Thursday, Dec. 21.

Numerous Courier readers have expressed concern over the delay in reporting the incident to the public.

“Hindsight being 20/20, absolutely we should have released it earlier,” Edelstein said.

Jarrell told the Courier, “It should have gone out (Dec. 20) at the latest. We will make a concerted effort moving forward, including a review of our practices, to ensure better information sharing.”

Anyone who might have seen anything or has any information should call Police Det. Watson at 928-772-5135.