Gilbert residents concerned about their children’s safety met with police Wednesday night for reassurance and news of a molester’s whereabouts.
About 200 residents gathered at the Maricopa County Southeast Regional Library to learn whether police have any leads on a man who molested an 8-year-old girl Tuesday at Val Vista Lakes.
“We are trying to give residents information and calm their fears by answering their questions,” Police Chief Tim Dorn said.
The incident happened about 10:45 a.m. when the man grabbed the girl at a recreation area. Police said the girl screamed and the man ran away, but not before he “inflicted a sexual injury.”
Nicole Casillas, 36, a Val Vista Lakes resident, said the incident is very troubling, and “I am disgusted with it. It hits close to home because I have an 8-year-old.”
Another Val Vista Lakes resident, Deborah Kinnaman, said she used to let her 13-year-old daughter go to the area alone.
She said the homeowners association should take precautionary measures.
“People jump the fence around the recreation center all the time,” said Kinnaman, 50.
But Dorn is confident that leads will turn into an arrest.
“We are going to do everything we can to catch this suspect,” he said. “But we can’t do this by ourselves. We need the community’s help.”
Police released a composite sketch of the attacker.
The man is described as white, 30 to 50 years old, with a medium build, grayish hair and a salt-and-pepper beard. He was wearing eyeglasses with blue lenses, a shirt with tan, gray and blue horizontal stripes and light-colored slacks.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at (480) 503-6500.