As important as ever

Published 11:18 am Saturday, October 4, 2014

A year after an 11-year-old girl was abducted from her Carrollton school bus stop, driven through Isle of Wight, Suffolk and North Carolina and repeatedly molested, police have still not identified the twisted man who terrorized and abused her.

But they have not given up the search, either.

In fact, the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office took­ the occasion of Thursday’s one-year anniversary of the abduction to announce a few new details about the crime and to describe some of their continuing efforts to solve it.

Recounting for the record — and the possibility that someone might recognize an important detail — the girl was forced into a white or gray/silver Chevrolet car, similar to a two-door Chevrolet Cavalier and was driven to a wooded area behind an abandoned house, possibly in North Carolina. The abductor then traveled back to the Isle of Wight area and took the victim to a wooded area on a gravel road called Iron Mine Springs.

The girl said the older white male is of medium build, about 5 feet 8 inches and weighing 175 pounds. His hair is short and blond, but not a buzz cut, and he wore a thin blond beard containing white whiskers — in a strip from his temples across his chin — and no mustache. He has bushy blond eyebrows, blue eyes, large full lips, teeth that are slightly yellowed, a wide nose, small hands with short fingers, and freckles covering his entire face and body.

The girl also reported he wore small, round, brown eyeglasses low on his nose, but only wore them some of the time, as well as cut-off blue jean shorts, a tan T-shirt and brown and blue tennis shoes.

The sheriff’s office disclosed this week that the car had a softball-sized chunk missing from the middle of the dashboard. Other newly released information was that the abduction took place “just off Route 17.”

Police also disclosed that they have received 729 leads since the crime occurred, though only 24 have come in since January. But they’re still one tip short — the one that will break the case — and they are urging area residents to consider whether anything about the description of the car, the suspect or the route he took with the girl sounds familiar.

“Even the smallest tip” could make the difference, according to Sgt. Tommy Potter of the sheriff’s department. “We want to solve this case.”

That’s also what the victim of this heinous crime wants. It’s what her family wants. And it’s what the community wants. We’re glad the case remains as important as ever to investigators in Isle of Wight.