MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — Members of a Southern California gang raped an 11-year-old girl in the bathroom of a neighborhood park, leading to six arrests and a manhunt for a seventh suspect in a crime that has stunned seasoned law enforcement officials.
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“It shocks you to your core. It never ceases to amaze me how vicious these things can be,” Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
The girl was gang raped in the bathroom at Moreno Valley’s Victoriano Park between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. March 10. Sheriff’s Investigator Matt Diaz says no other details were being released.
The attack, which was on the south side of the city near Moreno Valley College, wasn’t made public until Sunday.
“As a father — even as a police officer — there are crimes that shock us. This is one of them,” said Capt. John Anderson, chief of the Moreno Valley station.
The attack was in an area where gangs and crime aren’t a problem, Anderson said.
Six juvenile gang members arrested shortly after the rape were booked at Riverside County juvenile hall for investigation of sexual assault on a child.
A seventh suspect, Michael Sykes, 19, of Moreno Valley, has eluded capture. Investigators believe he’s hiding in Los Angeles, some 70 miles west of Moreno Valley.
It was the second time in a month that a little girl was sexually attacked in a park in Riverside County.
In February, three 13-year-old boys were arrested after a middle school student told officers a boy sexually assaulted her while the two others held her down at Banning’s Roosevelt Williams Park.
The boys and the victim attended Nicolette Middle School, and investigators said it wasn’t a gang-related attack.
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