Sunday, April 10, 2011

Police arrest 16 in twisted gang rape of 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, Texas

Suspects in the rape of an 11-year-old girl include (top, l. to r.) Jamarcus Napper; Jared McPherson; Kelvin King; (bottom, l. to r.) Marcus Porchia; Xavier King; Devo Green.

Suspects in the rape of an 11-year-old girl include (top, l. to r.) Jamarcus Napper; Jared McPherson; Kelvin King; (bottom, l. to r.) Marcus Porchia; Xavier King; Devo Green.
More than a dozen teens and men are believed to be involved in the nightmarish gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in Texas.

At least 16 people, ranging in age from 14 to 27, have been arrested in the past four months in the small town of Cleveland, 50 miles northeast of Houston.

The most recent came Friday, when police busted four high school students. Authorities believe more arrests are likely.

"There have been leads during our investigation that have alerted us to other possible persons of interest," Cleveland Assistant Police Chief Darrell Broussard told CNN. "The investigation is ongoing."

The girl, whose name has not been released because of her age, told police at least 20 people attacked her last Thanksgiving. The vicious assult was caught on camera and video, authorities said.

The macabre attack began when 19-year-old Timothy Ellis  lured the girl out of her home and asked if she wanted to go "riding around," according to a police officer's statement obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

Cops said he took her to an empty house and forced her to strip under threat of violence. Several other men showed up and each raped her.

The sickos then took the 11-year-old to an abandoned trailer, where they continued to have sex with her, as well as use cell phones to take pictures and record video.

"These guys knew she was in middle school," the girl's mother, identified only as Maria, told reporters. "You could tell whenever you talked to her. She still loves stuffed teddy bears."

The video quickly went viral, sparking arrests after the teens in it were recognized by fellow students. The victim, described as a troubled young girl, was also recognized by several people.

"It just seems like a dream," said Sherry Fletcher, who told reporters her 20-year-old son is among those accused. "I just hope everything comes out well, because some of these kids are innocent."

A judge has placed a gag order on the case, and police have requested that the girl's family "relocate" as tensions rise in the town of 9,000.

Maria said she had received repeated, angry phone calls from people looking for the girl, who has been placed in foster care and hasn't been allowed to see her family.

"The police think we may be in danger," Maria said, "because if they can't get my 11-year-old, they might take out their revenge on us."

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