Local

Questions remain unanswered in girl's rape at grocery store

Monday, April 30, 2012

Houston police are investigating the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl.

The girl claims a stranger grabbed her and raped her while she was shopping at a southwest Houston grocery store.

The attack happened more than a month ago, and the girl's family wants to know why no arrest has been made.

The Houston Police Department didn't want us to report this story, telling us they are at a critical time in their investigation and that publicity could hurt that. But the victim's grandmother hopes a story on Eyewitness News might lead to an arrest.

The victim's grandmother, who asked us not to reveal her identity, says she sent her granddaughter to Food Town on Wilcrest and Briar Forest to buy rice on March 24. It was at that grocery store inside one of the bathrooms where her granddaughter claims she was raped.

"You can't help but think, 'If I had drove to the store myself, it wouldn't have happened,'" the grandmother said.

The girl told her grandmother a man approached her outside the store and then followed her inside when she refused to grant his request for a hug. The woman says the man then followed the girl from aisle to aisle. He reportedly attacked when the girl went to get a drink of water near the bathrooms.

"That's when he came up behind her, grabbed her wrists, pulled her into the ladies room and put her in the stall and told her to take her pants down," the grandmother said.

The grandmother says the girl never said anything about the man having a weapon, but she said she was frozen with fear and that the man raped her in the stall, only stopping when someone else entered the bathroom.

"He told her to be quiet and he stood on the seat so you couldn't see his feet," the grandmother said.

The 12-year-old told her grandmother that, once the others inside the bathroom left, the man told her to go outside the stall and make sure they were gone. She said that's when she ran -- when she was away from her attacker and able to summon the courage.

She reported the attack to police that day.

The grandmother said the store manager showed her surveillance video from inside the store of the man stalking the girl. Police never released that video or any suspect description.

Neither Food Town nor HPD would share that video. They wouldn't say why other than that there is an ongoing investigation.

Food Town said it is cooperating with police.

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