A man in Tennessee is in police custody after allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl who was walking to school.
Larry Ward, 20, was arrested on the evening of Nov. 5. He is charged with rape, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault.
At, around 7 a.m. that day, Ward allegedly hit the victim with his car while she was on her way to school, reports WRCB. The victim says he then exited his vehicle and assaulted her.
“He snatched her, put her in the truck, raped her and then dropped her off over here,” the victim’s mother told WREG.
“We never had issues like that over here,” said parent Thepeleton Richmond. “Never ever. Not issues about rape. This is like a family community over here.”
Cameron Fifer was driving to work that morning when he saw the victim crying on the side of the road.
“As I stopped to ask her what happened, first thing she said was, ‘I just got raped,’” Fifer recalled. “She was like, ‘I was hit by a truck, a blue truck and the guy proceeded to rape me.’”
Memphis Police Department Director Mike Rallings said he was emotionally affected when he learned what had happened.
“That broke my heart to imagine that a little innocent 11-year-old girl on the way to school was brutally attacked by anyone,” he told WRCB. “I’m glad that we worked again to bring that family some closure.”
Rallings also had some words of advice for children and adults alike.
“At any time, I encourage adults and young people to walk in groups if they’re going to and fro,” he cautioned. “Definitely pay attention to your surroundings.”
This isn’t Ward’s first run-in with the law, reports WRCB. In 2015 he was arrested for burglarizing a building, and earlier this year he was arrested for driving with a suspended or revoked license.
A local hospital listed the victim’s condition as non-critical. She is expected to make a full recovery — at least, physically.