DICKINSON, Texas (FOX 26) — A 16-year-old girl is speaking out after surviving a Christmas night attack in a Dickinson park.
The teen told FOX 26 it was around midnight when she walked to Paul Hopkins Community Park on FM 517 near her home to clear her head after an argument with a friend. She never expected what happened next.
"This man approached me and was like, 'Hey, what are you doing out so late?'," said the girl, speaking under condition of anonymity. "He puts his arm around my shoulder and tries to kiss me. I tell him that I’m uncomfortable, and his response was, 'Too bad.'"
Dickinson police say the stranger who approached her is Bryan Ford, 24, a homeless man who sometimes stays in the park.
The teen said Ford shoved her to the ground. She was able to contact 911, but the phone hung up during the struggle. She said that when 911 called her back, she pretended it was her parents calling.
"As I’m trying to speak to [the 911 operator] calmly and explain what’s going on, without alerting my attacker of who I’m communicating with, she is not comprehending, and finally I give up," said the girl. "I tell her my name, I tell her where I am, and he immediately runs at me, tackles me to the ground, puts me in a headlock and chokes me out.”
The girl became unconscious. Police say Ford dragged the teen through a trail in the park, then left her unconscious and took off.
A K-9 officer tracked the attacker down around 100 yards from the park. Police charged Ford with aggravated kidnapping, a first degree felony offense.
The girl's father received the call that no parent wants.
"[A call at] 1:22 in the morning by the officer first," said the victim’s father, who also asked to stay anonymous. "Two minutes later, she calls. I initially thought she was raped."
Relieved that she had not been sexually assaulted, the girl's father said he had no idea that his daughter had left for a walk after he went to bed.
"Going out at night alone without parental consent is not acceptable," said the girl's father. "We definitely had some cross words."
The teen is now responding to some online criticism she has received after news of the attack.
"I may be young and naive and innocent, but I’m not a delinquent,” said the girl. She is left with scrapes, bruises and bloodshot eyes after surviving the attack.
The teen also said she has learned a difficult lesson and she’ll take friends or the dog with her the next time she goes for a walk.