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Girl Assaulted In Springfield Seeks Answers

On the evening of Nov. 23, a 17-year-old African-American girl was beaten and left for dead near the Springfield Fred Meyer. Now family members say they need the public’s help to catch the perpetrator.

“Some people have a mentality of not wanting to talk to the police, but this is somebody’s life,” says Jeremiah Farish, the girl’s brother. “She could have died — if the lady didn’t find her, she could have died.” He urges anyone with knowledge of the attack to call the Springfield Police Department Tip Line at 726-3721.

According to Farish, the girl’s injuries included massive facial swelling, a broken nose, bleeding from her ear, multiple upper front teeth missing along with the bone connecting her front teeth to her palate, a broken jaw, multiple through-and-through lacerations to her face, both eyes swollen shut, strangulation marks to her throat and skin removed from her thigh and knees, possibly from being dragged. Farish says that, after immediate reconstructive facial surgery, his sister is healing, but her jaw remains wired shut.

Sergeant John Umenhofer of the Springfield Police Department says, “We’re still investigating, but at this point we still don’t have a lot of information about what happened or where it occurred” because the victim was unable to provide information. “If anyone has any information we urge them to call us,” he says.

Farish says that other kids have come forward to report being attacked in the area, but his family is having a hard time getting the information out. “People need to be warned that these people are still on the streets,” he says. “‘There’s no public threat’ is what people have been told,” he says. “I don’t know what justifies a public threat.”

Farish set up a Facebook page, “Justice4Love,” to get the word out in hopes of catching the assailant (wkly.ws/1ep). Warning: there are graphic photos of the girl’s injuries. He also created a SELCO account called “The Love Fund,” where people can donate to her significant hospital bills for her emergency reconstructive surgery. “They’re going to be staggering,” he says.