Police hunt for sex predator; still no arrests in Manatee Creek Park sexual assault

One month since crime in Port Salerno

PORT SALERNO, Fla. - The brightly colored playground and manicured lawn still beckons families to play at Manatee Creek Park in Port Salerno.

Blane Laite is an active four year-old. He goes to the park to climb and run.

"Everything else a boy wants to do," he chirped.

Blaine's mom, Charity, says last month's assault of a young girl in the woods nearby hasn't stopped them from going to the park, but it did open their eyes.

"I'm not the kind of person who believes you should live life in fear but you should keep that sense of concern," said Laite.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said even with no arrest, this is still a hot case.

"We do not look at this in any way as a cold case. We're treating this as an active open investigation," said Sheriff Snyder.

Sheriff  Snyder said they've received 50 strong leads from the community directly related to individuals. They've looked at all lewd and lascivious cases for the past year and this one stands out as unique.

"The worst thing law enforcement can do is rush to judgment and make an arrest that we find out later is not the right answer," added the sheriff.

Brooke Oser wanted to create a greater sense of community. She set up a neighborhood Facebook page for the Manatee Park neighborhood and organized a cleanup of some of the woods.

"It (the assault) happened and I'm glad we all came together the way we did even if it came from something bad," said Oser.

One disappointing thing for neighbors is while they did get a lot of this brush cleared away.  Some of the brush remains including the area around the railroad tracks where the assault took place.

Charity Laite says the railroad company owns that piece of property but added at the same time, even if they could have cleared it away, they didn't want it to become a lure for young kids to go walking out onto the tracks. 

She said the neighborhood is looking into possibly getting a camera placed in the area and right now, she and other parents are just keeping closer tabs on their kids, trying to get life back to normal.
 

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