ABC7 Exclusive: Girl who fought off attacker has message for community

May 4, 2013 (MAINE TOWNSHIP, Ill.)

The attack took place Wednesday along Golf Road in Maine Township near Des Plaines.

The girl shared her story exclusively with ABC7, with her parents' permission, to make sure it does not happen to others.

It is a survival story of how a 12-year-old girl escaped when a man attacked her in Maine Township.

"I dragged on the floor so he couldn't pick me up," said the victim, who is being called "Elena" to protect her identity. "And when he covered my mouth, one finger went into my mouth so I bit it as hard as I could."

It happened Wednesday afternoon in broad daylight. Cook County authorities released a sketch of the suspect.

"I started fighting back because I knew there was no way I can get out of here if I panic and curl into a little ball," she said. "That will get me nowhere, so I said, 'If I have to do this, I have to do it alone,' and I did and I got out of it safely."

He tried to drag her into the woods near her apartment.

"Many kids go to the place that I went to, so I told them you should stay away from there, there are many people who can come there and snatch you," Elena said.

Fighting back was instinct.

"I screamed. I didn't want him to pick me up. And, basically, it came naturally. In my mind, I was like, 'God please give me another chance,'" she said.

Afterwards, Elena ran home.

"She was bleeding, her lips were swollen, cheeks were swollen, she was shaking," her mother, Barbara said. "We went upstairs and she said quickly, 'Call police.'"

There are so many lessons the girl wants to share with other children.

"I want to say, if they are going outside, they should be in a bigger group or with a parent or guardian, someone to watch them or protect them," she said.

And parents.

"Any mothers or children out there, just be cautious and stay safe," Barbara said.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said that it is critical that children know they should fight back. Scream, yell, push, bite, whatever takes to try to get them into a safe place.

Dart said that the list of potential suspects is starting to dwindle down.

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