CHICAGO — The search continues for a man who attacked and sexually abused an 11-year-old girl on her way home from school last week.

Police said the girl was on her way home from school Thursday afternoon when a man came up from behind her, put his hand over her mouth and pulled her into a secluded area of an alley in the 6200 block of South Indiana, where he sexually abused her. The girl was able to break free and run off.

During a press conference Tuesday, the girl’s mother, Lissy Wakefield, said her daughter remains traumatized by the incident.

“My daughter is scared,” Wakefield said. “She’s not eating. She’s having nightmares.”

The community points out that this happened within the steps of a safe passage monitored by CPS and should be dealt with by the Chicago Police Department.

“He has made all of the children in this city feel unsafe,” said Andre Smith with Chicago Against Violence.

According to the victim’s mother, community members identified the alleged offender after recognizing him from a released police sketch.

Chicago police confirmed that a person was taken into custody and questioned, but was released Monday — frustrating the girl’s family even more.

“I looked at the picture and showed it to my granddaughter and said, ‘who is this?’ She broke down, ‘Oh my God, granny, that’s him,'” said the girl’s grandmother, Lutia Payne-Midcalf. “My granddaughter knows what happened to her. She knows who did it. She said she’ll never forget his face, ever.” 

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown and Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan were questioned about the decision to release the alleged offender.

“We do have a sense of urgency, but we have to get things right,” Brown said.

“The detective assigned to the case is in contact with the family and the individual of which they are speaking. He is a suspect, but we’re working with our state’s attorney’s office in order to build the case which we have to in order to possibly affect an arrest and get to charges,” Deenihan added.

The suspect is described as a Black man, 45-60 years old, 5’11”, with a thin build and graying hair. Police said he was wearing a black shirt, black jeans with a silver belt buckle and black work boots.

The family wants justice for the child who is already grieving the loss of her father in 2012.

“It’s very disheartening to wake up and hear they let him go,” said the victim’s grandmother Latoya Smith. “Our family has already been traumatized and if they let this man go free, then we’re being traumatized all over again by the city of Chicago.”

There is a $4,000 reward being offered for information leading to an arrest.

The investigation is ongoing.