LAKE WORTH, Fla. May 23, 2005 — An 8-year-old girl who was raped and buried alive told a friend she remembers her attacker towering over her before she passed out, then awoke seven hours later beneath a pile of rocks and concrete blocks when she heard the voices of rescuers.
The girl, who had been staying overnight at her godmother's house, was reported missing early Sunday. She was hospitalized in good condition Monday and a teenage boy who also had been staying at the home was arrested. Authorities said he confessed.
"She said the last thing she remembers is that he looked over her with these big eyes and then she said she went to sleep. She said she was waiting for us to find her," said 18-year-old Danielle Holloman, a family friend who calls the girl her sister.
"She said she knew we would come get her. That's why as soon as the police came, she wiggled her fingers," Holloman said Monday.
The girl was found Sunday morning when police Sgt. Mike Hall climbed into a 25-foot long trash bin, opened the lid to a 30-gallon recycling container and saw part of the girl's hand and foot peeking out from under heavy concrete slabs, said police Sgt. Dan Boland.
He said rescuers feared the worst, but their mood turned jubilant when they realized she was alive.
"There's no doubt in my mind that this child would have been dead if he didn't find her. She was dehydrated and in rough shape with pieces of cement blocks on top of her and she was face down," Boland said. "There was no way for her to get out on her own."
She had been sexually assaulted, authorities said.
Her disappearance rattled a state that had been outraged over the arrests of sex offenders in the separate killings earlier this year of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford and 13-year-old Sarah Lunde.
"When a child is abducted and abandoned like this, the critical thing is time," Police Chief William Smith said.
"That we found this child alive is a miracle."
The 8-year-old had been staying overnight at her godmother's house. After police found her, the girl named her attacker and described him. The teenage boy she named, a friend who was staying in the home, was arrested.
Thank-God she will have a second chance at life.
Milagro Cunningham, 17, who had been staying at the house of the girl's godmother, was charged with attempted murder, sexual battery on a child under 12, and false imprisonment of a victim under 13 years old, police said. He was charged as an adult.
Investigators saw inconsistencies in Cunningham's story and kept him close at hand, authorities said.
Smith said it was clear from where the girl was found that her attacker did not expect her to survive.
A fence with a locked gate surrounds the landfill, closed more than a decade ago, Boland said. But the fence has holes in it, he said.
"We believe it was a sexual assault and possible attempted murder," FBI Special Agent Mike Driscoll said. "He intended to leave her there, and she wasn't going to get out of the situation.
What the fuck is going on in Florida and the Nation?
What we need here is some Street Justice.
How about a good ol' stoning. Bury him halfway in the ground
and let the public come out and throw rocks at his head.