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Abductor Who Buried 6-Year-Old Girl in Desert Remains At Large

September 12, 1991

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Police continued to search today for the abductor of a 6-year-old girl who was kidnapped, stripped and buried neck deep in the ground - but escaped - after she left the grounds of her desert school during lunch.

The school in the meantime tightened supervision.

Tests found no evidence the first-grader was molested, but investigators believe the man intended to sexually assault the girl, Pima County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Rick Kastigar said Wednesday.

The girl, whose name was withheld, was treated at a hospital for cuts on her shoulder.

The child failed to return from a walk Tuesday with friends during lunch at the Kino Learning Center.

Officials at the alternative Roman Catholic school told parents on Wednesday that elementary-grade students will no longer be allowed to leave the unfenced campus without an adult.

The girl was rescued by a National Park Service employee who found her walking on a road to Saguaro National Monument West outside Tucson.

The child said she had become separated from her friends and was approached by a ″boy″ who asked her to help look for something, Kastigar said.

Detectives believe the abductor is a man. According to the girl’s account, the man walked with the girl for a while than forced her to dig a hole, stripped off her clothes, bound her legs and hands with duct tape, gagged her with underwear and taped over her mouth, Kastigar said.

The child said the man hit her with a shovel on the head and shoulders, then forced her to lie down in the 16-inch-deep trench and buried her up to her neck. He left, telling her he was getting a camera, Kastigar said.

The girl dug herself out and fled.

The school has about 150 student in kindergarten through high school on a 10-acre campus cut by canyons and crossed with hiking trails, said school spokesman Felipe Jacome.

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