Authorities in Massachusetts are looking for a suspect in an attempted rape of a teenage girl.
Police in Lowell say the attack happened on 13th Street Tuesday afternoon, when the suspect approached the victim and then assaulted her, forcing her behind a house.
Neighbor Emily Brennan said she was returning home when she saw the girl was running from a nearby school and park.
"As I was opening the passenger side coming around, I almost collided with her, the young girl," said Brennan. "She was just crying and couldn't breathe and was breathing very heavy. I said, 'do you need help,' and she said yes."
Brennan said she brought the girl to her front porch and called 911.
Police said the teen was walking when she was assaulted by a man. They said after he forced her behind the house, she was able to break away.
After the attempted rape was reported, police officers from Lowell and Dracut, along with K-9 units and a state police helicopter, searched the area for the suspect.
Police said they have stepped up patrols in the area in wake of the incident.
The suspect is described as being between 18 and 20 years old, with very short hair and a mole or birthmark near his mouth. He was wearing a red T-shirt, black basketball shorts, white high socks and black sneakers, and was carrying a black and gray backpack. Police say he may also have scratches on or around his neck.
"I think it's awful, a young girl should feel safe going to the park and in a school area," said neighbor Alexis Morin.
The investigation and search is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Lowell Police Department at 978-937-3200.