A Manassas Park police officer on routine patrol came to the rescue of a 13-year-old girl who was assaulted early Saturday as she was walking home from a convenience store.
According to Prince William County police, the girl was attacked as she was returning home about 12:30 a.m. on Mathis Avenue from a trip to 7-Eleven. As the girl passed an abandoned house near Parkside Middle School, she noticed that a man was following her.
"She noticed the suspect walking behind her, and she started to walk faster, and apparently so did he," said police spokesman Dennis Mangan. "The suspect then grabbed her with his right arm around her waist and put his left hand over her mouth."
Mangan said police believe the man sexually assaulted the girl when he grabbed her from behind.
Manassas Park Officer Douglas Sawyer witnessed the attack while on routine patrol on Mathis Avenue, which cuts through the City of Manassas, a small swath of the county and then into Manassas Park. When Sawyer saw the man grab the girl, he got out of his police cruiser and then held the suspect until county police arrived on the scene.
Police immediately arrested Odell Vernon Summers, 18, of no fixed address. He has been charged with abduction and sexual battery. Summers is being held in the county jail without bond pending a Sept. 21 preliminary hearing.
The girl told police that Summers jumped out from a hiding place near Parkside Middle School and started following her as she passed in front of the school. Mangan said police have not determined why the girl was walking alone along the dark street that late at night.