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Family seeks tips in effort to nab girl's attacker

Standing in the area of their 7-year-old daughter's alleged abduction last week, a Salt Lake couple on Friday pleaded with the community to come forward to help solve the case.

"He needs to get off the street so he can't hurt anybody else," the girl's mother said. "Please help us."

The couple's daughter reported being grabbed from behind near the intersection of 800 West and North Temple while walking home from school Sept. 24. She told police that a man who appeared to be in his 50s with scars on his face forced her into his vehicle, a late '70s or early '80s model muscle car, likely a Chevrolet Chevelle, Malibu or Nova.

Salt Lake Police Sgt. Fred Louis said the man sexually assaulted the girl and released her approximately 10 minutes later.

Louis asked that anybody who may have information about the man, or the vehicle, to call police at 801-799-3000.

"I think someone knows who this individual is (and) is holding it back for some reason," he said. "It would just take that one phone call to help us resolve this case."

Police are especially interested in hearing from anyone who may have been in the area between 3 and 3:30 p.m. that day, Louis said.

The girl's parents reported Friday that she is doing well under the circumstances.

"She's doing better," her mother said. Added the girl's father: "She's getting back to normal."

The Deseret Morning News is not publishing the couple's names to protect the identity of the girl. It is the paper's policy not to identify rape victims.

Though the child has not yet returned to school, she appears to be coping well with the situation and is back to playing outside with her siblings, though under strict supervision.

For the adults, however, it may be a different story. Her father said he's having trouble sleeping since the incident and said work is out of the question at this point.

"I can hardly do anything. I think about this all the time," he said.

One thing he tries not to dwell on, however, is the man who reportedly took his daughter from the street less than half a block from her home. He declined Friday to say what he would say to the man if given the opportunity.

"I've tried not to think about that, just trying to think about my daughter," he said. "The only thing I try to put in my mind is, 'What does my daughter need?' "

Police are confident in the veracity of the girl's story and said evidence exists to support her abuse claims. Louis praised the child's strength in dealing with a difficult situation.

"She's a very tough girl, and she's been working very well with us," he said.