- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2005

LAKE WORTH, Fla. (AP) — An 8-year-old girl who was raped and buried alive under rocks and concrete blocks inside a trash bin told a friend that the last thing that she remembered before passing out was her attacker towering over her.

She said she awoke when she heard rescuers’ voices and wiggled her fingers to let them know she was there.

The girl, who was found by police seven hours after she was reported missing early Sunday, was hospitalized in good condition yesterday and was talking with family and friends.

A teenage boy has been charged with attempted murder.

“She said the last thing she remembers is that he looked over her with these big eyes, and then she said she went to sleep. She said she was waiting for us to find her,” said 18-year-old Danielle Holloman, a family friend who calls the girl her sister.

“She said she knew we would come get her. That’s why as soon as the police came, she wiggled her fingers,” Miss Holloman said yesterday.

Police Sgt. Mike Hall found the girl after climbing into a 25-foot-long trash bin and opening the lid to a 30-gallon recycling container. Inside, he saw the girl’s hand and foot peeking out amid heavy concrete slabs.

Rescuers feared the worst, but the mood turned jubilant when they saw the girl’s fingers move and realized that she was alive.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this child would have been dead if he didn’t find her. She was dehydrated and in rough shape with pieces of concrete blocks on top of her, and she was facedown,” Sgt. Dan Boland said. “There was no way for her to get out on her own.”

He said the container must have had enough air pockets to keep her alive.

Her disappearance rattled a state that had been outraged over the arrests of sex offenders in the separate killings earlier this year of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford and 13-year-old Sarah Lunde.

The girl had been staying overnight at her godmother’s house in this town about 10 miles south of West Palm Beach — where she often stayed on weekends when her mother worked. After police found her, she described her attacker — a teenage boy who also had been staying at the house, police said.

Authorities said Milagro Cunningham, 17, confessed and was charged with attempted murder, sexual battery on a child younger than 12 and false imprisonment of a victim younger than 13, police said.

The teen initially told investigators that the girl might have been abducted by five men in a station wagon and that he followed them but they escaped. His story unraveled under questioning, Sgt. Boland said.

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