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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An arrest has been made after an 11-year-old girl was raped on her way to school Monday morning.

Larry Ward, 20, is charged with rape, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

“We never had issues like that over here. Never ever. Not issues about rape. This is like a family community over here,” said parent, Thepeleton Richmond.

The child was walking to Geeter Middle School around 7 a.m. from her home. She was only about a mile away when a man in a blue SUV pulled up.

“He snatched her, put her in the truck, raped her, and then dropped her off over here,” the victim’s mother said.

The girl was left in a ditch near Delta and Mason Roads. She was battered and bruised, her mother said, but is expected to be okay.

Police were in the area for hours searching for the man who did this, and Monday evening they said the found the suspect and took him into custody.

Police have not yet identified him, as official charges are pending.

“He’s our top priority,” Lt. Col. Gregory Sanders with the Memphis Police Department said before the suspect was captured. “I mean, anytime you have anything like that happening with juveniles, kids on the way to school, kids are our prized possession.”

Police encouraged parents to make sure their children have a buddy to walk to school with. They said it’s harder for someone to deal with a group than with a single kid.