A missing six-year-old girl has managed to flee her suspected captor after being snatched in a department store the previous day by a 57-year-old man who allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Little Tuong An was with her father and three siblings in a department store in the city of Potsdam in the eastern German state of Brandenburg when she mysteriously disappeared.
According to reports, the family was on the way to the ground floor when the little girl ran ahead and took the lift down alone.
Her father saw her exit the elevator on the ground level, but when he arrived there moments later she had disappeared without a trace.
A major search operation was launched and the girl’s father took cops to every imaginable place that Tuong An could have gone to. Meanwhile, sniffer dogs searched the immediate area surrounding the store.
According to reports, 22 hours after her disappearance, little Tuong An was spotted sitting on the steps of a house by a passing policewoman.
A police spokesman said: “She was crying when she was found on the steps in front of a house.”
The girl told the policewoman that she was “stolen” by an evil man.
She added that she managed flee her captor’s home and left the door open.
With the help of the young victim, police located the flat and arrested the 57-year-old inhabitant, identified as Willi D.
At the time of his arrest, the suspect was reportedly drunk.
The police spokesman said: “An arrest warrant has been issued against the accused on suspicion of serious sexual abuse and deprivation of liberty.”
Tuong An’s mother said that apart from a cut knee, most likely caused by a fall, she seemed healthy.
However, reports said that medical tests later found evidence of sexual abuse.
It is currently unclear what took place in the flat during those 22 hours and whether the girl was sexually abused as tests suggest.
The mother said: “Police said we should not talk to her or ask about it.”
At a later time when the girl has settled back into normal life, the police will quiz her in an appropriate way to find out what happened.
According to local media citing anonymous sources within the police, blood traces were found on Tuong An’s shoes and in the suspect’s house.
Investigations are continuing.