Last suspect held in gang rape of 11-year-old girl

1:16 PM, Mar 28, 2011   |    comments
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Michael Sykes, 19, of Moreno Valley, was arrested at a home in that city about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, Riverside County sheriff's spokeswoman Courtney Donowho said. She had no other details.

Sykes was the eighth person arrested in the gang rape at Victoriano Park in Moreno Valley. He and the six boys accused of raping the girl are believed to belong to a local street gang, authorities have said.

The other boys were arrested shortly after the attack, along with a girl who is suspected of luring the victim into the bathroom so she could be raped, investigators said. Their names were not released because they are all minors, although the boys were over the age of 14, authorities said.

The 11-year-old was approached by the older girl, whom she knew, at a shopping center on the afternoon of March 10 and was led to the park where the male gang members were waiting to assault her, Lt. Chad Bianco told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

"It appears what happened is they were looking for a victim," he said.

"It shocks you to your core," county Sheriff Stan Sniff told the newspaper Sunday. "It never ceases to amaze me how vicious these things can be."

Sheriff's Investigator Matt Diaz says no other details were being released.

The attack, which was on the south side of the city near Moreno Valley College, wasn't made public until Sunday.

"As a father - even as a police officer - there are crimes that shock us. This is one of them," said Capt. John Anderson, chief of the Moreno Valley station.

The attack was in an area where gangs and crime aren't a problem, Anderson said.

It was the second time in a month that a little girl was sexually attacked in a park in Riverside County.

In February, three 13-year-old boys were arrested after a middle school student told officers a boy sexually assaulted her while the two others held her down at Banning's Roosevelt Williams Park.

The boys and the victim attended Nicolette Middle School, and investigators said it wasn't a gang-related attack.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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