Update from BRPD: The suspect involved in the kidnapping/sexual assault incident might have been driving a 1997-2001 gold/beige/light brown Toyota Camry, according to police, who describe the suspect as a black male standing about 6-feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds.

Original post

Authorities are trying to identify the man who kidnapped a young girl from a BREC park on a recent Saturday afternoon and sexually assaulted her, Baton Rouge police said Monday.

The man lured the 7-year-old girl away from Gus Young Park and into a vehicle on Dec. 13, then drove her to another location and sexually abused her, said Sgt. Mary Ann Godawa, a police spokeswoman.

The girl was at the park with an older child at the time of the abduction. Not long after being kidnapped, the girl was driven back and dropped off near the park, Godawa said.

According to the girl’s statements to police, she was sexually abused, but the man’s actions did not rise to the level of rape, Godawa said.

Police released a picture of a car relevant to the investigation. The car, a gold or tan sedan that looks like an older-model Nissan Maxima, appears from images to have some damage to its driver-side rear bumper, Godawa said.

The car was seen leaving the BREC park’s parking lot at 2:25 p.m. on the day of the abduction.

Police described the man they’re trying to identify as black and 6 feet tall with a medium to heavyset build. He was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans at the time of the assault, police said.

Although the incident was first reported to police soon after it happened, the kidnapping was not made public until Monday because detectives needed time to iron out the details of the child’s statements in multiple interviews, Godawa said.

“When you’re dealing with young children, it takes several interviews,” Godawa said. “And then the exam and then the testing of the exam. And it’s not a quick process.”

Once investigators straightened out the facts about the incident, police sent out a news release, Godawa said.

“As soon as we were sure that her statement was in order, then we wanted to release that,” Godawa said, “because we don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Police are investigating the incident as an aggravated kidnapping.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to contact the Juvenile Sex Crimes Division at (225) 389-3853 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.

Follow Ben Wallace on Twitter, @_BenWallace.