- Associated Press - Friday, April 7, 2017

PIKE CREEK, Del. (AP) - After a 4-year-old girl was kidnapped and sexually assaulted, police were searching Friday for “the heartless monster” who committed the crime.

At a news conference Friday, New Castle County police Chief Col. Vaugh Bond Jr. was visibly shaken when he said, “I can assure the public that this incident is by far the No. 1 priority for New Castle County Police Department.”

Authorities were called to a home in Pike Creek, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Wilmington, about 7 p.m. Thursday.

The girl was playing outside with other children when a man drove up and starting talking with her, Bond said. The man lured the girl into the car and drove off.

A passer-by saw the girl about 8:45 p.m. walking near the tree line in Banning Park, Bond said. She was “without very many garments,” the chief said.

The girl was taken to a hospital, where medical personnel determined she had been sexually assaulted. She was treated and released to her family.

Bond described the suspect as a white or Latino male driving a dark-colored, four-door sedan with tinted windows. He asked that any residents with surveillance cameras check the footage for anything that might be linked to the kidnapping.

“Every member of the New Castle County Police Department is committed, regardless of their assignment, to solving and apprehending this heartless monster,” Bond said. “We’re going to do everything in our power. We’re going to take any assistance we can get.”

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