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Mother of 5-year-old girl found naked, bloody at Minnesota bus stop wants answers

ST. PAUL -- The attack on a little girl in St. Paul this week has community members asking what they can do to help. People who have never met the 5-year-old and her family are collecting gifts for the girl as well as donations for the family. An...

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A school bus driver on Monday found a 5-year-old girl crying, with her face bloodied, and naked from the waist down near the girl’s school bus stop Park Street and Cook Avenue, in St. Paul’s North End. (PIONEER PRESS)

ST. PAUL -- The attack on a little girl in St. Paul this week has community members asking what they can do to help.

People who have never met the 5-year-old and her family are collecting gifts for the girl as well as donations for the family.

And while the girl’s mother appreciates the outpouring, she also hopes people will help by coming forward with tips to the police.

“Please, please review your memory from Monday,” said the woman, whom the Pioneer Press is not naming to protect her daughter’s identity. “If you were in the area and saw something, please call it in. My daughter can feel safe when they find the person.”

A school bus driver found the girl Monday morning with her face bloodied and her pants and underwear around her ankle in the city’s North End, near Cook Avenue and Park Street. He called 911.

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The girl, whose nose appeared to have been broken, was crying hysterically and unable to tell police officers what happened, police spokesman Steve Linders has said.

Police have asked anyone with information to call them at 651-266-5685. Officers have not made an arrest; the girl reported she did not know the suspect.

“It’s very possible” the girl was sexually assaulted, Linders said. The Midwest Children’s Resource Center, which specializes in assessing child victims, has interviewed the child. Linders said Wednesday that it’s not known whether officials will be able to determine what happened to her.

The girl and her family are not staying at their home because it’s too upsetting for the girl to be in the neighborhood where she was hurt, her mother said. She said they need to move, and the family has set up a site at www.gofundme.com/22cwpw44 to help with fundraising for that effort, plus counseling expenses.

“She just got her appetite back,” the woman said Wednesday. “She said, ‘Mom, can I have a bag of chips?’ ”

On Monday morning, the woman said she dropped off her daughter, a prekindergarten student, at her bus stop and then she headed to work.

The girl’s bus usually arrives five minutes after she gets to the stop, the woman said.

The girl’s father took her to school before a recent job change, and the girl started riding the bus not long ago, according to her mother.

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What happened to the girl has moved people at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in St. Paul to want to help. The women’s Bible study group shared the news about the case with intern pastor Anne Jackson on Wednesday morning.

“The emotional response of our members is significant in that we are deeply grieved, not only that this tragic act would happen, but that it would happen to a young child, to an innocent child,” Jackson said.

The church is responding by putting out a call for “an act of love” and is making a care package for the girl, she said.

People can donate items for the girl, such as teddy bears, dolls, crayons and books or other nonperishables to the church office at 1390 E. Larpenteur Ave. The collection runs through Sunday.

Tasha Rose, who lives in the Hamline-Midway area, posted about the case on her neighborhood Facebook page Tuesday, asking who wanted to pitch in to help the victim’s family. Rose offered to cook for them and mentioned that perhaps people could donate gift cards to restaurants for the girl’s family.

“I’ve got six children and I can’t imagine something like this happening to any one of them, let alone having to manage with cooking or grocery shopping,” she said. “We want to show them the community stands behind them and they know they’re loved and supported and that we’re really hoping this monster is nabbed.”

People who want to donate gift cards for activities that the victim’s family can do together or for restaurants can contact Rose at 651-235-8818 or message Tasha Rose on Facebook to make arrangements. Rose said she will work with a police investigator to get the gift cards to the family.

“We want to make sure they maintain their anonymity … but we want to make sure they know we care,” Rose said.

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