Family speaks out after girl with special needs was brutally attacked by multiple teens in viral video
The family of a 15-year-old Chicago girl with special needs said she is doing OK after she was brutally beaten by a group of teenagers in an attack that was captured on video, WLS-TV reports.
Footage of the incident, which was posted on Twitter on Monday, shows at least five other teenage girls and one teenage boy surround the victim before they repeatedly punch her as she cries for help. Friends of the victim told the station that the suspects offered to walk her to the train but had, in fact, set her up so they could record her beating.
"I haven't been able to sleep since I saw that brutal attack on my granddaughter," said Charlie Mae Harris, the victim's grandmother. "It was so terrible."
On Thursday, police said that they have arrested four girls in connection with the attack, all of whom could be charged with aggravated battery and mob action. The suspects' names have not been released, since they are all underage.
"In their interviews, the detectives learned that the victim met several juveniles, who she thought were her friends," Lt. Ozzie Valdez told reporters. "These girls then taught her how to flash gang signs, and as this was occurring, a beating began, which was captured on video."
The attack allegedly occurred during a five-day span when the victim was missing, law enforcement said. Her family had reported her missing on July 18, CNN notes.
Police said a "vigilant citizen" fortunately recognized the victim on a subway train on Tuesday and notified authorities. She was later reunited with her father and taken to the hospital.
In a statement, the communications chief of the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) said the agency is "investigating allegations of neglect involving the 15-year-old with special needs that was brutally attacked this week." DCFS has since purportedly taken protective custody of the victim.
In an interview with WLS-TV, the victim's family said they hope that DCFS will relocate her with a relative who can properly take care of her.
"She's in an excellent school," said Raquel Harris, the victim's aunt. "She needs to continue with her life from this point on, but with family members that can truly protect her."