Police are looking for a man who allegedly assaulted a teen girl on her way to the bus stop Thursday morning.
The father of the 15-year-old girl called Liberty police about 7 a.m. Thursday after she said she was on her way to school near Missouri and Murray streets when a man jumped out and assaulted her with a knife.
The girl's father said the man forced his daughter into the woods and threw himself on top of her.
"The guy pulled out a knife and tried to stab her," Joseph Ortiz said. "She knocked the blade away. He grabbed her hoodie and tried to yank her back into the woods on the other side. He slipped and fell, and she was finally able to get loose and ran back across the street."
Lt. Andy Hedrick with the Liberty Police Department said they are looking for a white man in his 40s with fuzzy, salt-and-pepper hair and wearing a plaid jacket and paint-covered jeans.
Ortiz said his daughter is incredibly lucky and bravely fought for her life.
"I don't want to imagine what could have happened if she didn't put up that fight," Ortiz said. "She was screaming. All these cars driving by. She was screaming, hollering and no one stopped or could hear anything."
The girl suffered scrapes and bruises, and her clothing was ripped in the struggle. Understandably, the girl remains incredibly distraught.
"She's scared. She doesn't want me to leave her side," Ortiz said. "I'm her protector and I wasn't there to protect her."
Police brought in metal detectors in an effort to find the knife.
Cheryl McCann's daughter rides the same bus as the girl attacked. McCann has two children and has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years.
"We just kind of look out for each other like today. I stood at the bus stop with a fourth-grader who I don't even know. She was down there by herself. I knew there was some weird stuff going on," McCann said.
McCann said she didn't know who the alleged attacker was and doesn't imagine he lives around the area.
"We don't have things like this happen like that, not at all. We've had a few weird things happen, but nothing like this," she said.
Some residents have asked locksmiths to check their door locks while others are contemplating security systems.
Meagan Becker said that this appears to be a "true attack" and frightens her.
"At first I was hoping this was a case of a girl jumping the gun, but it sounds like he had a knife," Becker said. "That's very scary so I called the school to make sure my daughter made it there OK."
The victim turns 16 on Monday, and Ortiz hopes police catch the predator soon.
"This guy's intention was not to let my daughter out of those woods. Why bring a knife? Your intentions are that you are going to use it," he said. "I praise my daughter. She's very athletic. She did a good job."
Anyone with details is being urged to contact the Liberty Police Department at 816-439-4701.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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