Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 27, 2012

Police: Suspect followed 8-year-old, touched him

BY GLENN PUIT
gpuit@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY — City police are looking for a man suspected of sexually assaulting a Traverse City boy at an apartment complex.

Police said the boy, 8, was playing with friends at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center skate park Thursday evening when he departed alone and headed to an apartment complex across the road in the 200 block of Fair Street. A man followed the boy to the complex, police said, waited for the child to enter the door code of the building, then trailed the youth into a lobby area and assaulted him.

"He was inappropriately touched," Traverse City police Capt. Brian Heffner said. "This guy did kiss him, as well."

Police said the suspect also exposed himself.

The suspect was observed prior to the incident seated on a bench, watching the child and his friends play at the park.

Investigators carried out an intense search of the neighborhood Thursday night and again Friday to try and identify the suspect.

"We are doing a neighborhood canvass and pulling up (names) of all the sexual offenders in the area," Heffner said. "It's pretty brazen to walk into a community area like this and do something like that."

Police said the suspect is in his mid-20s with short dark hair, spiked in the front, and wore a plain white T-shirt, khaki shorts, and tennis shoes. Detectives are trying to develop a sketch of the suspect with the help of the child. His friends also observed the suspect at the park prior to the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Traverse City Police Department Detective Bureau at 231-995-5152 or the Silent Observer tip line at 231-947-TIPS (8477).