Mom scared; suspected child predator could remain free for months

WEB UPDATE (1.24): The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office tells us that a new person will take over the case and it will be a priority.

A Detroit mother found out her 11-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by someone she trusted. She turned the evidence over to police -- but more than a month later this man remains free.

The alleged victim's mother says the detective on the case went on vacation before completing a warrant request that was to be sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

"She is 11 years old, she has a learning disability," said Erica Underwood. "He took advantage."

Just reflecting on it can be overwhelming. Erica Underwood's daughter was sexually assaulted. The alleged culprit? Someone known to the family and once welcomed in their home. 

"As a mother, it hurts," Underwood said.

She learned about the alleged assaults on Dec. 1. The man in question left his phone at her house. On it, videos of the man removing her daughter's blanket while she slept, revealing the girl's bare legs and underwear.

Underwood questioned her daughter and learned what no parent wants to hear.

"It happened on two occasions; she was penetrated two times," Underwood said. Underwood went to police and her daughter was interviewed Dec. 11.

A detective promised to get a warrant that same day, but it took roughly a month. Now the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office says it will take another two months to review it.

"Nothing is being done, it's, 'We need to wait, we're backlogged.' You're backlogged. That should be a priority," she said.

"An additional two months with this predator out here, Mr. Wimbley, is no good."

Underwood says the man began hiding out after she confronted him about the allegations back in December, 

"Just like a pedophile would say, he's never done it, he doesn’t know why he did it," she said.

But as the weeks rolled by he became emboldened.

"I'm scared because now that he's been in hiding so long, he thinks nothing is going to happen," Underwood said. "So now he's starting to come out and people are starting to spot him.

"There's witness intimidation going on. [His] brother constantly drives up my block, he's been over to my home, he's knocked my trash can over, he's brought a weapon to my home."

FOX 2 stopped by the suspect's house, which is just a stone's throw away from where the alleged victim lives. We were told the person we were looking for wasn't there. 

Detroit police said it should not have taken detectives a month to send a warrant request to the prosecutor, given the nature of the allegations. It's now investigating why it took so long.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office says that two-month time frame is based on how long the prosecutor thinks it will take to review the evidence on top of the other warrants he's handling. Those warrants are for defendants in police custody and they take priority because police can only hold them in custody for 48 hours.