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Girl raped on way to bus stop

A 15-year-old girl on her way to school Tuesday morning was dragged through the fog and raped near the side of the road, the Sheriff's Office says.

Investigators spent the day searching for the girl's attacker, but they had not arrested anyone by Tuesday evening.

The girl had been walking along Osteen Road about 7:15 a.m. She was on her way to catch a city bus that would take her to Richard Milburn Academy, a nearby charter school.

On the way, she apparently passed several friends who were at a school bus stop waiting to be taken to Ridgewood High School.

"It was really foggy," said 16-year-old Corey Hall. "You probably couldn't see more than 20 feet in front you."

Corey said the girl, whose identity the Times is withholding, stopped to chat with him and the others. As their school bus picked them up, the girl walked alone toward the city bus stop farther along the road.

It was there, sheriff's officials say, that the man drove by her on an older model black and silver motorcycle. The girl told investigators he grabbed her and dragged her to a narrow strip of brush that separates the road from an empty lot.

At some point _ sheriff's officials wouldn't say whether it was during or after the rape _ the girl managed to break free and run to a nearby home for help.

Investigators found the girl with dirt and mud on her, as well as scratches consistent with a struggle in the woods.

"We have every reason to believe that what she said happened to her actually happened," sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said.

News of the rape spread quickly among those who live in the area. One girl said the victim is an acquaintance.

"A lot of people know her. She's a real sweet girl and you would never think something like this would happen to her," said Erin Gilhooley, 15. "If I'm by myself I'm not walking anywhere now, especially around here."

The victim described her attacker as a Hispanic man, from 25 to 30 years old. He is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds, with a medium build, dark skin, a smooth complexion, black eyes and shoulder-length black hair pulled into a ponytail. He was wearing a white T-shirt, black cotton pants, and white and blue New Balance sneakers.

Anyone with information is asked to call sheriff's Detective Bobby Hamm toll-free at 1-800-854-2862, ext. 7446.

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