A 34-year-old man is now in custody following an alleged sexual assault incident involving a 6-year-old child in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood, south St. Louis.
According to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the accused, identified from neighborhood surveillance footage, had allegedly grabbed the child while they were riding their bike on Sunday. He then reportedly took the child to a vacant residence, where the assault took place.
The suspect, caught on camera wearing a red polo shirt, khaki pants, and black shoes, was apprehended a day after police circulated the surveillance images. Authorities anticipate presenting the case to the Circuit Attorney’s Office for a decision on charges by Friday. The name of the individual has not yet been released.
Upon hearing the mother’s plea for help in identifying the suspect, Tom Scheifler, head of the safety committee for the St. Louis Hills Neighborhood Association, said, “I just dropped everything. It’s just tragic.”
The incident is reported to have taken place on Sunday evening near Loran Avenue, a mere block away from Francis Park. The suspect was caught on surveillance footage in the nearby alley.
Due to the sensitivity surrounding the incident and the age of the victim, police have not released further details.
The neighborhood, known for its comprehensive security camera program and safety initiative, relies on voluntary submission of security footage from residents and local businesses to bolster community safety. While Scheifler did not recognize the man from the footage, he is hopeful that the clarity of the images will aid in a swift identification.
The police are encouraging anyone with further information about the incident to contact a detective directly at 314-760-7360 or to leave an anonymous tip with CrimeStoppers at 866-371-8477.