September 19, 2014
The bloody fingerprints inches from his doorbell led Michael Klockowski to believe the 15-year-old girl who was found brutally beaten and sexually assaulted in his backyard Tuesday morning was trying to signal for help.
Klockowski was going to sweep the snow from his rear walkway just after 8 a.m. in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood on the Northwest Side when he found the girl outside his backdoor. Blood was pooling in the snow around her head. Her pants had been yanked off. Her shoes were off her feet. She was all but unconscious, moving a little, but saying nothing.
“Perhaps she was just an inch away from ringing the doorbell,” said Klockowski, 54. “Maybe I could have got [the attacker] running and I could have gotten a glimpse of what this [attacker] looks like.”
Klockowski ran inside to call 911. Emergency personnel arrived in about four minutes, he said.
As firefighters treated her, Klockowski said the girl tried to speak.
“I could hear her speaking to them very faintly,” he said.
The girl was taken from the home in the 2400 block of North Long Avenue to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition.
Chicago Police say the attack happened about 6 a.m., just 30 minutes before Safe Passage Route workers began patrolling Fullerton Avenue near Long. The girl was “struck about the head and dragged into the rear yard of a nearby residence and sexually assaulted,” Chicago Police said in an emailed community alert seeking information about the assault.
She suffered “pretty severe” head injuries and underwent surgery, a Chicago Police source told the Chicago Sun-Times. Because of the nature of her injuries, she has not yet been able to speak to detectives, police said.
No arrests have been made in the case. Authorities are scouring the block to see if any video cameras possibly captured the attack.
Klockowski thinks the attacker might have chosen his backyard because it’s hard to see from nearby windows. He said a condom wrapper was found near the girl. Klockowski said he didn’t hear a struggle.
Just before the assault, the teen was heading to catch the Fullerton bus, which ferries her to the high school she attends outside the neighborhood, Chicago Police said.
Her backpack was found in the gangway alongside Klockowski’s home. And a trail of blood led from the gangway to his back door, Klockowski said.
He wonders whether the young girl was trying to seek safety inside his family’s home. In addition to the doorbell, the handle to the rear door was covered in blood, Klockowski said.
Police removed Klockowski’s rear door to examine a bloody palm print they think might belong to whoever was behind the assault, Klockowski said Tuesday afternoon as workers boarded up the entrance.
“It’s disturbing . . . first thing when you wake up in the morning to find someone right outside your door just barely hanging onto life apparently, you know, it’s shocking. I really hope they find the person who did this,” said Klockowski, who is a caretaker for his 93-year-old mother.
The assault occurred about a block away from a Safe Passage Route for Northwest Middle School, 5252 W. Palmer St. Prosser Career Academy and Hanson Park Elementary School are also within blocks of the assault.
“I just hope they find the person who did this because there’s so many children in this area, and one can’t help but suspect that somebody might, like this, [capable] of something so violent, might do it again, sometime soon,” Klockowski said.
News of the attack caught neighbors off guard.
“I don’t even know what to say, that is so scary,” said Johana Arana, who has a 13-year-old daughter who lives in the area and walks to school. “It’s daylight, it’s not even dark outside.”