A Newcastle community is being urged to stay “vigilant” as the hunt continues for a man who abducted and sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl in a “horrendous” five-hour ordeal this week.
Police are throwing every resource at the hunt for a man who grabbed the girl through Hudson Park in the suburb of Adamstown Heights from behind as she walked to school on Tuesday morning.
She was then threatened with a knife, sexually assaulted and forced into a car – believed to be a red Holden Commodore – and driven to bushland where she was sexually assaulted before being released at Kotara railway station about five hours later.
The young girl walked 1.5 kilometres on her own before raising the alarm at a home and was taken to John Hunter Hospital for examination.
Officers have been door-knocking in the neighbourhood and distributed pamphlets describing the attacker.
“Until we find this person I’d be more vigilant than ever,” Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec told reporters in Newcastle on Thursday.
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“I’d be sitting down with my children and setting out some ground rules about where they can go and where they can’t go,” he said.
Parents should explain to their children what to do if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable who they can turn to or run to and need to be aware of their surroundings, he said.
Det Supt Kerlatec also advised children to avoid isolated bushland and parks.
The attacker is described as chubby with short black messy hair and wrinkles on his forehead and around his mouth. He spoke with an Australian accent.
The attacker could also be a smoker as the young girl described him as smelling of cigarette smoke or body odour.
Brown staining on his bottom row of teeth and cracked lips were also visible despite the fact he was wearing a dark-coloured zipped-up hoodie that covered part of his face.
He wore beige–coloured shoes and denim jeans.
Det Supt Kerlatec said at least 10 investigators had joined Newcastle police in tracking down the attacker but urged the public to also contribute.
“The most valuable resources I imagine that we may need are from the community members who come forward,” he said.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.