SANTA CRUZ COUNTY (CBS SF) — Authorities are searching for a man who allegedly assaulted a 13-year-old girl while she was walking home from school in Ben Lomond on Tuesday afternoon, according to the sheriff’s office.

The assault happened in the 7000 block of state Highway 9. The girl was walking from San Lorenzo Valley Middle School to her mother’s house on a dirt trail when the suspect approached her, officials with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said.

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He tried to start a conversation with the girl, then grabbed her arm and backpack strap, deputies said. She was able to fight off the man and run away.

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The man may have been homeless and was described to be in his late 20s with dirty, matted, light brown hair. He was skinny, had dirty hands with long fingernails, was about 6 feet 4 inches tall, and had short, scruffy facial hair, deputies said.

He was last seen running toward the middle school at 7179 Hacienda Way. Deputies are working to identify the man and have increased security at the school. Anyone who recognizes the suspect’s composite sketch or has additional information is asked to contact Sgt. Chris Shearer at (831) 454-7645.

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