KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - Police in Kalamazoo are searching for a man who they say assaulted a teenage girl.
The teen told police the suspect approached her around 7 a.m. Friday in the 900 block of Bellevue Place. He then grabbed and dragged her into some nearby woods and assaulted her, according to a news release.
The 14-year-old girl was then let go, and she ran home and called police. She was not hurt, police said.
The suspect fled the area in an unknown direction. A police K-9 unit could not find him.
The victim could only give investigators a vague description of the suspect, calling him a white man in his 40s with brown hair starting to gray at the ends.
Area resident Jacqueline Keppeler said she woke around 7 a.m. as police flooded the neighborhood, trying to find the suspect.
"Two cop cars were lining this part of the street and one was right where you guys are parked outside my window," she said. "It looks like they were taking the girl back to the woods to find out exactly where it all happened and they were setting up police tape. And the dogs were out sniffing around."
Bellevue Place is a short, narrow street occupied by rental properties mostly filled by college students and some families. It's at the foot of a wooded hillside on top of which sits WMU's old East Campus.
"It's a pretty good neighborhood, but where it's located, of course you're going to have some crime," WMU student Kyle Dunn said.
Students told 24 Hour News 8 there is a lot of walk-through traffic and that some homeless panhandlers hang out in the area.
"Which is not a big concern, but some of them, you kind of wonder about the mental status. It can get kind of uncomfortable at times," student Steve Yankoviak said.
Keppeler said a couple of street lights on the block flicker, but the rest don't work at all.
"I think we think that it's a forgotten street," she said. "The school bus doesn't come here. The kids have to cut through the spooky woods and then by Davis Field -- there's no lights there -- and have to go to the bus stop. That's why this all happened."
Anyone with information regarding about this incident is asked to call police at 269.337.8994 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.
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