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'I'm proud of that little girl': Good Samaritan helps frightened girl after suspected assault

Posted at 5:46 PM, May 21, 2024

OAKFIELD (NBC 26) — A man in rural Oakfield said a 12-year-old girl showed up at his door late last Saturday claiming she'd just escaped someone trying to hurt her. She's now safely with the county, and a suspect has been arrested, according to the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office.

  • The Sheriff's Office says the man bound and blindfolded the girl but she got away
  • Investigators say the suspect paid the girl's mother to spend time alone with her.
  • Sheriff's deputies arrested the man, whom they say was in the country illegally.

Mike Malterer of Oakfield said just before midnight on Saturday, he was bringing in items from his car when the girl appeared.
He said there appeared to be saran wrap around her wrists and she told him she needed help. Malterer, a retired firefighter, said his first responder instincts kicked in.

“She was scared," Malterer said, "I was, not scared, but surprised.”

He said the girl told him she'd just escaped from a man trying to hurt her. Then, he said, a car drove by and the girl recognized it.

He said they took down the license plate number and called police.

“In the heat of the moment, you do what you have to do," Malterer said. "She was there for help, I helped.”

The Fond du Lac Sheriff's Office said they were later able to track the suspect to a home on Marquette Street in the city of Fond du Lac and arrest him.

Investigators said the suspect bound and blindfolded the 12-year-old girl and was attempting to assault her, but she fought back and ran away.

Investigators said they also arrested the girls mother, whom the man allegedly paid to spend time alone with the girl.

According to the sheriff's office, the male suspect entered the country illegally from Nicarauga in 2021.

The sheriff's office said the case involves multiple potential crimes, including sexual assault of a child, false imprisonment, and child human trafficking.

The sheriff's office said the girl and her siblings are now safe with Fond du Lac County Human Services.

"I'm proud of that little girl," Malterer said.

The sheriff’s office isn’t releasing the names of anyone involved in this incident at this time, and said in a release that there may be more arrests.