Pacific edition, Thursday, June 21, 2007

SEOUL — The mother of an 11-year-old girl who reported being attacked at Hannam Village said she was told some security cameras in the housing area don’t work.

Area II officials refused to answer queries on the cameras Tuesday, calling it a “force protection issue.”

Christine Cogdill said her daughter, Victoria Smith, was attacked while waiting for an elevator in a housing tower June 12 when she was playing with friends.

The children were racing down the elevators from the 11th floor of Building I on their way to an outside playground, but Victoria decided to take the service elevator by herself.

Her mother said that when Victoria entered the small room housing the elevator entrance, someone approached her from behind, snatched the small baseball bat she was carrying and struck her four to five times on the side and back before fleeing back into the hallway.

Scared to go into the hallway, Victoria entered the elevator, went outside and told her friends what happened, her mother said.

Shortly after that, the kids saw a Korean man wearing black shoes, blue pants and a “poofy” black jacket running from the building, Cogdill said.

The children reported the incident to military police, who escorted Victoria to her apartment.

“When the MPs brought her to the door she was shaking and crying,” Cogdill said. “At first I thought she was in trouble, but she’s never in trouble. She’s a good kid.”

Cogdill took her daughter to the emergency room, where she was treated for minor bruising. Cogdill then filed a police report.

A former Air Force security forces member, she asked investigators if they would use footage from the housing area’s many security cameras to identify the assailant.

Cogdill said the investigator told her cameras at the playground and at the pedestrian gate near the housing management office don’t work.

U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan spokesman David McNally declined to discuss Cogdill’s claims about the security cameras.

McNally said the garrison takes the assault seriously, but added that this was the first time any such incident had occurred.

McNally said that the investigation of the case has come to a halt because none of the children could give enough information to identify the attacker.

“The case is closed pending receipt of further information,” McNally said. He added that anyone who has more information should call military police.

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