A 17-year-old girl in Federal Way was hit from behind and robbed on the way to her school bus stop. Now her family is sharing the story in hopes of sparing someone else's child from a similar scary attack.
The victim was only about 150 yards from her family's home when the attack took place, near the intersection of 12th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 341st Street.
"If it happened once, it could happen again," said her father, Michael Walker.
Walker asked KING 5 not to show his daughter's face or use her name, but he says the family felt it was important to speak about the attack and to warn others.
Video from a neighbor's surveillance system shows Walker's daughter walking to the school bus. In the video, a man can be seen following closely behind her. But since she has headphones in her ears and a hood pulled over her head in the rain, the young girl doesn't see or hear the man as he approaches.
At one point in the video, the man appears to look backward and signal a black SUV to move closer.
Walker believes that SUV was the man's getaway car.
"My daughter was oblivious to anything going on around her. And so you see this guy start to walk faster and faster, and then they get around the corner, out of view from the camera," he said.
The video doesn't show the attack, but you can hear the victim's screams as she tries to fight the man off.
"That's one of those sounds you never want to hear as a parent. The sound of your child screaming for help," said Walker. "It's just unbelievable. It's unbelievable."
The victim said the man hit her in the head from behind, then wrestled her cell phone away from her, and ran away. It's believed he jumped into the waiting SUV.
"If he would've just asked her for the phone, she probably would've given it to him," said Walker. "But to hit her from behind and you're a guy and you're hitting her in the face - what does that say? What society do we live in now where that happens so easily?"
Federal Way Police say they are reviewing the surveillance video as they work to identify the suspect.
Investigators ask anyone who might recognize the black SUV or the man seen in the video to contact the Federal Way Police Department right away.
Walker said his fear is that the suspect might target another child walking to the bus stop. He worries that next time, the outcome might be even worse.
"We want to identify this person right away because in this case, we were very very fortunate," he said. "Seeing the video was unbelievable because we know it could've been a lot different."
His daughter is shaken up but is physically okay. She doesn't plan to walk to the bus stop anytime soon. She also has some important advice for others.
"Make sure you are one hundred percent aware of what's going on around you," she said. "Make sure you're not walking alone."
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