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Illinois police: Teenager held 2 years escapes Washington Park captors

Friday, August 24, 2012 | 7:47 a.m. CDT; updated 11:18 a.m. CDT, Friday, August 24, 2012
Members of the Madison County tactical response team take a 2-year-old child to a waiting ambulance Thursday evening in Washington Park, Ill. The child was rescued after a teenage girl reported missing more than two years ago escaped from a home and went to police, saying her child was still in the house.

WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. — A teen girl reported missing more than two years ago told police she escaped a home in southwestern Illinois where she had been held captive and repeatedly sexually assaulted.

Authorities in Washington Park, a village next to East St. Louis, raided the house Thursday afternoon and took into custody a 24-year-old man and his mother. They also recovered the teen's young child, which the girl said was the result of rape by her captor.

Washington Park Police Chief David Clark said they believe the man's mother aided the crimes. Police would not identify either of them by name because they had not been charged as of early Friday.

About two dozen members of a SWAT team wearing helmets and body armor swarmed the home with assault rifles drawn. They recovered the child and arrested a man and his mother.

One officer carried the child from the home, shielding the toddler with a sheet. The child was then taken away in an ambulance.

Police in St. Louis had listed the teen as a missing or runaway juvenile in April 2010. She was 15 when she disappeared.

The teen told police she was held against her will and was beaten and sexually assaulted almost every day. She reported trying to escape several times but told police that her captor chased her down each time and forced her back to the home at gunpoint.

She told police she was able to escape this week with the help of a relative.

Police said the teen also told them she was forced by the man and his mother to give a false name in medical records during her pregnancy and when the child was born.

A neighbor, Lakeitha Smith, told several local TV stations that she saw the girl from time to time outside the house and never witnessed anything that would raise concern.

"I used to see her come out of the house, back and forth," Smith said. "I didn't think she was being held hostage in the house."

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