Upper Marlboro area residents say they are being more cautious and protective of their children after a seven-year-old girl was sexually assaulted Saturday.
Prince George’s County police say a seven-year-old girl was abducted at gunpoint around 3 p.m. Saturday and sexually assaulted in Marlton, near the Woods of Marlton apartment complex on Heathermore Boulevard.
According to police reports, the girl was riding alone on her scooter when she was taken into the woods and assaulted by an older white male, who has yet to be identified.
The girl was sent to the hospital and has since been released, according to police.
James Woods and his wife, Cindy, have lived in their Upper Marlboro home for 25 years and said the community is shaken up following reports of the assault.
“I don’t know that anybody’s safe anymore,” said James, a teacher at Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro.
The incident hit home for the couple, whose daughter and three grandchildren live near the apartment complex where the assault occurred.
“You hear about the news in other places, but it’s never been this close to home as far as I can remember,” Cindy Woods said.
After learning about the incident, the couple said they reminded their grandchildren – aged 11, 14 and 16 – to be wary of their surroundings and avoid walking alone.
“I told them, ‘if you’re going somewhere, make sure your older brother is with you. If you’re going somewhere, you got to stay together,’” Cindy Woods said.
Kathy Wesley, a Cheltenham resident and teacher at Fort Foote Elementary School in Fort Washington, said her 15-year-old daughter swims at a pool several blocks away from where the assault occurred and she will no longer allow her daughter to walk home from practice.
“At this point as parents, we have to be extra vigilant,” Wesley said.
Officer First Class Nicole Hubbard, a county police spokeswoman, said the department increased patrol around the area.
Yolanda Douglas, an employee from The Woods of Marlton, said the apartment complex would only discuss the matter with police.
Police are continuing to investigate the crime and searching for the suspect.