A 7-year-old girl playing outside a Puyallup apartment complex Wednesday night was lured into nearby woods where she was choked and sexually assaulted, police said.
The girl had to be carried out of the woods once a bloodhound led officers to her but she was able to identify her attacker. Police arrested a 14-year-old neighbor boy.
“We’re blessed that she was found safe,” Police Chief Bryan Jeter said. “She’s a very brave, strong lady and we wish her the best in her recovery.”
The girl was taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in serious condition but is expected to survive.
She was playing with other children at the Glenbrooke apartment complex in the 700 block of 43rd Avenue Southeast when she went missing. Family and friends began looking for the girl about 6 p.m. and called police for help about 8 p.m.
Officers canvassed the complex and completed a door-to-door search before calling in a bloodhound.
Just before midnight, a resident helping with the search found a shoe at the edge of a wooded area just north of the complex. The bloodhound found the girl about 20 minutes later by following a scent.
Police served a search warrant at the boy’s apartment and arrested him about 4:45 a.m. He was booked into Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center in Tacoma.
It’s unclear whether the teen knew the girl or if he was among the children playing outside before she went missing.
Police dealt with the boy last week when he was assaulted at the complex in an unrelated incident, Jeter said.