An 11-year-old Memphis girl was on her way to school when she was suddenly hit by an SUV, then abducted and raped by the driver before being left in a ditch
Larry Ward, 20, has been charged with aggravated kidnapping, rape of a child and aggravated assault.
The girl was walking to the bus stop on her way to Geeter Middle School when she was hit by a blue SUV around 7am on Monday.
She told police that the driver then got out of the car and forced her inside, driving off before brutally assaulting her.
Cameron Fifer was on his way to work when he saw the girl crying in a corner of the road. It was just minutes after the attack.
'Man, phew. Her face. Something just struck fear in her definitely,' he told LocalMemphis.com.
Fifer said he asked the girl what happened, and the first thing she said was: 'I got raped'.
'She was like, "I was hit by a truck, a blue truck, and the guy proceeded to rape me.'"
The girl was taken to a nearby hospital in non-critical condition and has since been released.
Her mother said she was battered and bruised, according to WTKR.
Ward was arrested after authorities located a Santa Fe Hyundai that matched the girl's description of the SUV just two miles from the attack, according to police.
His physical appearance, as well as his clothes, also matched the child's description and he was arrested.
The Memphis Police Department made the case a 'top priority', searching hours for the suspect to get justice for his victim.
'That broke my heart to imagine that a little innocent 11-year-old girl on the way to school was brutally attacked by anyone,' MPD Director Mike Rallings told WMC.
'I'm glad that we worked again to bring that family some closure.'
News of the attack spread through the community, breaking neighbors' hearts but also putting them on edge.
'It's sad that somebody would do a child like that,' said neighbor Jimmie Blanchard.
'The youth is everything. They are the future.'
Resident Thepeleton Richmond said the neighborhood had never seen such a brutal attack.
'We never had issues like that over here,' he said. 'Never ever. Not issues about rape. This is like a family community over here. '
Ward's criminal record includes a burglary arrest in 2015. He was also arrested for driving with a suspended or revoked license earlier this year.
Rallings has continued to encourage parents in the community to make sure their children can walk with a friend or large group rather than alone.
Man is charged after Memphis girl, 11, is hit by an SUV then abducted, raped and left in a ditch while walking to school Anneta Konstantinides Dailymail.com 6 December 2016