An 8-year-old's cries for help after police say she was kidnapped from her bedroom probably saved her life and now authorities are asking the public's help to find the suspect.
"We believe there is a predator out there, and he needs to be stopped. He needs to be caught," Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said at a news conference Monday.
"A predator like this could go anywhere, and has no regard for jurisdictional boundaries," he added.
The girl, according to police, endured minor injuries, and authorities give her credit for screaming and putting up a struggle. The girl's cries for help alerted her father, who ran outside and found her in an alley.
"An important element is a lesson to all of us parents. This young girl immediately cried out, immediately put up a fuss and struggled. Who knows if that saved her life," Oates said.
A sketch of the suspect was released Monday night, and police said they're looking for a white man with short blond hair. He was wearing a heavy black winter jacket and had the distinct odor of cigarette smoke, investigators said.
The girl's grandmother, Beatrice Padilla, told The Denver Post the girl was doing her homework in her bunk bed sometime after midnight Monday. The suspect cut through and removed a screen before opening an unlocked window, according to police.
The man reached into the ground-floor window and grabbed the girl, pulling her out through the window, investigators said.
Police said the suspect headed toward the alleyway behind her home, but she began screaming for help and somehow managed to escape. Her father ran out of the house only to find his daughter running back from the alley. The father told police he saw a silver or gray car, possibly a BWM, speeding from the alley.
Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information aiding the investigation, and are treating it as a stranger kidnapping.
"There is nothing to indicate that this family was targeted in particular, which in some ways make it even more chilling," Oates said.
Investigators are now reviewing surveillance cameras in the area for clues and checking on registered sex offenders in the area.
"I've been in this business a long time. I've never seen anything like this. We really need your support, the media support and the public support. Tips and leads to catch this guy," Oates said.
The girl's parents returned home hours after the near abduction to collect the family dogs before leaving again. They declined to speak with reporters.