Police in Auburn, Maine say a 13-year-old girl was kidnapped and sexually assaulted at gunpoint on Monday night by a stranger.
Investigators have since arrested a suspect, 24-year-old Razel Gavin, for allegedly kidnapping the girl using a firearm and repeatedly assaulting her.
According to Auburn Police Chief, Jason Moen, the teenager was sketching in a book alone at a picnic table somewhere on Minot Avenue across the street from her parent’s home when Gavin parked his car in a parking lot nearby and approached her.
"In this case, the male approached her, struck up a conversation while she was sitting there and, prior to being able to leave, he abducted her," he said.
At the time of the abduction, which Moen called “random,” the girl was on the phone with a friend.
Police said that the call cut out, which prompted the friend to contact the teenager’s parents, who rushed to the parking lot.
"The parents found her cell phone damaged in the parking lot," explained Moen, adding that was the moment the girl’s parents called police.
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Moen also noted that a nearby business had very clear video allegedly showing Gavin driving a Volvo station wagon at the time of the abduction.
A search for the station wagon ensued and it was located by officers with the teenager inside around 2:30 a.m., at which point Gavin was arrested.
"The footage was crucial in locating this vehicle," said Moen.
According to police, the teenager showed signs she had been assaulted and the girl also told officers she was threatened with a gun and assaulted multiple times.
Police also say Gavin now faces kidnapping, aggravated assault and sexual assault charges with additional charges expected after further interviews with witnesses are complete.
During a Wednesday interview with NECN/NBC 10 Boston, Moen said people should try to be aware of their surroundings and leave if something does not feel right, even if it means running.
However, Moen added that random abductions similar to this one are extremely rare in Auburn.
“In my 27 years, this is one of the only times I’ve heard of this type of crime, usually there’s some kind of nexus between the suspect and victim,” he said.