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Intruder abducts 9-year-old girl from her home

Sunday, June 8, 2003

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The man who abducted a 9-year-old girl and attacked her mother and brother had waited in his car outside their home until the girl returned alone after school, police said Saturday after watching a neighbor's home surveillance video.

Jennette Tamayo was still missing Saturday and presumed to be with the man, who brutally attacked her mother and brother Friday after they arrived home and then drove off with his tires screeching and the terrified girl in the back seat.

The mother and 15-year-old brother told police they did not recognize the intruder.

The woman was badly beaten, but checked herself out of a hospital to help with the case, police Sgt. Steve Dixon said Saturday.

The 15-year-old also was released.

Investigators said they had few leads Saturday as they prepared to release a sketch of the man as well as the grainy video that showed him getting out of his car and approaching the house within minutes of Jennette's arrival.

"It does appear he's waiting for this victim to get home," Dixon said.

Police initially thought it might have been a burglary gone wrong, but the man took only a few token items, and the video suggested he did not try to conceal that he was targeting the Tamayo home, Dixon said.

Police described the intruder as short, in his early 20s and clean shaven. He has a deep scratch on his face from the struggle with Jennette's mother.

Jennette, a fourth grader with long brown hair streaked with blonde, usually spent afternoons with a baby sitter, police said, but on Friday no one was home when she returned.

Dixon sketched out the following sequence, based on the video:

The surveillance camera's time counter was off, but the video shows that the man parked in front of the house sometime before 4 p.m. In the approximately 20 minutes before Jennette got home, he spent several minutes out of the camera's view, then returned to the car and waited until she arrived.

Within two minutes, he left the car and entered the house, perhaps by a rear window that was already broken. After spending about 10 minutes inside, the man returned to his car and backed it into the garage.

About three minutes later, Jennette's mother and brother were dropped off by a relative.

The brother tried twice to open the garage door, but each time it rose only a few feet and snapped shut. On the third try, the boy ducked under the door and was immediately attacked.

"The suspect grabs him, starts to strangle him," Dixon said.

The boy said he saw his terrified sister in the back seat of the car, crying, Dixon said.

The mother told police she heard screaming, rushed in the front door and was confronted by the man, who tossed the boy aside.

"She thinks he looks like he's on drugs, he's got a blank stare," Dixon said. The mother told police the man answered her pleas for mercy with a few garbled words and a blank stare, then clubbed her with whatever he could get his hands on, police said.

"She is beaten very badly around the face. It was a very violent fight," said police spokeswoman Katherine Unger.


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