INDIANAPOLIS - Police have launched a child sex abuse investigation after parents reported that children were lured off an Indianapolis playground.
The mother of a 6-year-old girl told police that her daughter was picked up and fondled by a man who was luring neighborhood children into his apartment with candy.
Police were alerted to the allegations on Sunday and officers returned again Tuesday to the apartments off East 38th Street near Mithoeffer Road.
Parent Latasha Bonds told the Call 6 Investigators that her two children returned home from playing in neighborhood soccer fields and described a man touching the 6-year-old girl who lives nearby.
"It's very immediate alarm bells. She described the man fondling the child, touching, rubbing, and I thought to call the police," Bonds said.
Her children and the young victim's two older brothers then told police that a man who lives nearby was offering candy and luring them into his apartment by allowing them to play with his cell phone.
Police said several of the young witnesses all described the same activity, and some reported seeing the man picking up the young victim and fondling her as he carried her into his apartment.
"A very sick individual," Bonds said.
Neighbors said the man was often spotted watching young children in that play area, and the Call 6 Investigators found a lawn chair set up near his door facing that playground.
Police confronted the man about the allegations, saying he was identified from his passport as a 31-year-old man.
Detectives said Tuesday that they were unable to arrest him until the 6-year-old was brought in for a forensic interview that could be used in court.
Bonds and other parents expressed frustration with the delay in getting the man away from their children.
When the Call 6 Investigators knocked on the door to contact the victim's mother, the victim and her two shirtless brothers answered the door and said they were alone.
A 12-year-old boy said he was in charge of his siblings while his mother was at work.
He said she was remaining close to the apartment ever since "things happened" a couple days ago.
His 10-year-old brother said they saw the suspect again the night after the ordeal.
Police then arrived back at the apartment, saying they received a call from a neighbor concerned about the kids being left alone.
Officers called the mother to return and then questioned her as Child Protective Services asked questions about the kids being alone.
Police said there was plenty of food in the house and they saw no problems so no charges were filed.
No one was home at the suspect's apartment, and police said they were working on scheduling the forensic interview with the 6-year-old, in hopes of filing charges for the molestation.