Teenaged girls lock themselves in truck to evade Santee stranger

Posted at 11:25 PM, Mar 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-03 20:32:06-05

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) – Two teenaged girls had a frightening encounter with a stranger the parking lot Sportsplex USA Santee Thursday night.

“He’s lucky I didn't walk out to minutes earlier,” Beau Branton said. His 14-year-old daughter was one of the girls involved.

Branton plays in an adult softball league. Their game finished around 11 p.m. His daughter and her 13-year-old friend were there. After the game, they went to the pickup truck to get warm, while Branton finished up on the field.

That’s when a man came over to the teens sitting in the car.

“They saw him coming over and when they saw him coming over, they freaked out and locked it," Branton said. "He started yanking on the handle to get in.  When he realized he couldn't get in, he just stood there and didn't say anything, just a blank stare.”

After a few seconds, the man seemed to give up and leave.

“(My daughter) got out to come get me,” Branton said. “She came out from the truck, and towards the Sportsplex, that’s when (the stranger) came from behind a car and started chasing her.”

His daughter got back into the truck in time to watch the man drive away.

“He had a hoodie on, backpack,” he said, “cleanly shaven, he had two shaven notches on his eyebrows.  They watched him get into a red minivan and drive away.”

San Diego Sheriff's Department said the suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his early 30s, about 5-feet 9-inches tall, and weighing about 170 pounds. He reportedly has short brown hair.

He also had two shaved lines through his right eyebrow.

The suspect reportedly fled in an early 2000's model, dark, red minivan with faded paint and a sticker on the back window.

Deputies are working with the girls to create a sketch of the suspect and are asking any other witnesses to come forward.

Lt. Chris Steffen says they are not yet sure of the man's intentions and that he might not have known the girls were in the car. But he says they take every case involving juveniles and strangers seriously.

Anyone with information is asked to call SDSO at 858-565-5200.