PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - An investigation is underway after the Pembroke Pines Police Department received a report of a sexual battery involving a young girl in the area of 1400 S. Flamingo Road after 8 p.m. Sunday.

According to the preliminary investigation, the juvenile victim was walking northbound along the roadway towards her home from a nearby business when an adult male suspect approached her from behind, covering her mouth with his hands.

The suspect forcibly pulled the victim into nearby bushes where a sexual battery occurred. After the assault, the suspect fled the scene, running southbound from the area.

The victim was able to get away and seek help.

Officials said officers conducted a thorough search of the vicinity but were unable to locate the suspect.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man with dark skin, aged between 20 to 30 years old, with dark hair, and was last seen wearing a white polo shirt and black jeans.

Pembroke Pines residents were shocked when hearing what had happened.

“I mean it’s astonishing and very sad to hear something like that happen in the neighborhood especially to such a young girl, you know?” said Luis Zafora.

“I come here all the time so it’s like very concerning that something like that can happened right here,” said Shannor Brown.

“A lot of the guys that I’ve spoken to in the past unfortunately sometimes it might be drug related, it might be a psychological issue or troubled past but people are also more brazen nowadays, unfortunately,” said Loren Brown.

Some residents said the news of the young girl will change their nightly exercise routines.

“I might be going before the sunset and do something different. Besides that, it’s something that as a community we have to like watch out,” said Daniela Roman.

That’s exactly what Pembroke Pines Police want people who live in the area to do: watch out.

“We encourage members of the community to, when possible, have a working cellphone with them at all times, to try to travel with more people as there’s safety in numbers and to use well-lit paths throughout their travels. This is a very dangerous and violent individual and we would encourage anyone with information to immediately contact either the Pembroke Pines Police Department or the Broward County Crime Stoppers to help us in identifying and apprehending this individual,” said Pembroke Pines Police Sgt. Jason Palant.

Officials said the victim did not have a working cellphone on her when the incident occurred.

The Pembroke Pines Police Department stated that this is an ongoing investigation and additional information will be released as it becomes available.

“After the incident, the victim and a family member contacted the police for assistance,” said Palant.

Authorities are urging anyone with information related to this incident to come forward and assist in the investigation.

If you have any information on this crime, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.

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