It was a typical day that quickly became a parent’s worst nightmare.
Last Tuesday, a bad man with bad intentions allegedly accosted three Stephenville children as they were playing in their neighborhood.
“Things like this are not supposed to happen in Stephenville,” Tiffany White, mother of one of the children, said Monday.
A fourth child, a boy who was playing with the three girls, did everything he could to fight off the attacker. A week later, the families are still shaken by the incident and are reminding parents and children that even in Erath County, danger can literally be just around the corner.
White said the four children always play together, and that it was the buddy system that saved them from greater harm.
She said the boy, 10, and the oldest of the three girls, 11, asked to ride their bikes on a ramp near Sammye’s Candy. White said it is a common destination for the pair and that the two younger girls, both 8, were not allowed to tag along.
White said Jesus Alvarado first approached the older children while they were at the ramp. She said the suspect told the boy he “liked his bike” and asked if he could “give it a ride.” The boy agreed. White said Alvarado then allegedly told the girl he “liked her shorts” and attempted to pull them down. It was then the boy began to fight back, White said.
“He punched the man in the face, and punched him again on his body,” White said.
Both children ran to tell their parents what had occurred and to warn the girls.
“But it was too late,” White said.
White alleges that Alvarado had already found his way to the residential street where the girls were playing near their homes. White said the suspect approached the girls, who were frightened away when he began asking for their addresses and phone numbers. The two jumped on their bikes and rode away.
They rode to the end of their street, at the intersection of Greenview and Swan. White said in an “attempt to trick” the suspect, the girls ditched their bikes and tried to hide behind a neighbor’s fence.
It was then that Alvarado allegedly grabbed the girls.
“They tried to fight him off,” White said. “They kicked, slapped and bit him.”
The suspect allegedly punched one of the girls to the ground.
As the girls struggled to ward off their attacker, the older children rode up on their bikes. White said the boy grabbed a metal bar and began to beat the assailant. The children ran to a grandparent’s home, just a few doors down, where police were called.
Within minutes, officers with the Stephenville Police Department apprehended the suspect as he attempted to board a bus at the Kerrville Bus Company, about a block from the neighborhood where the attack occurred. White said the children provided a detailed description of the attacker and told officers what direction he fled.
The suspect never managed to remove the girl’s clothing and there was “no skin to skin” contact, but White said the girls were assaulted “through their clothing.” She also said the older two children, especially the boy, saved the girls from greater harm.
Alvarado, 46, remains incarcerated in the Erath County Jail, charged with indecency with a child. He is being held on a $50,000 bond.
White said the children and their families are still shaken by the incident and are working to get back to normal. She said the girls are receiving counseling from Cross Timber Family Services and wouldn’t leave their homes for several days following the attack.