A man has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping in the severe beating of a child on the Paul First Nation in Alberta.
James Clifford Paul, 21, was arrested late Saturday on the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. He remains in custody.
“This arrest came about very quickly because local citizens picked up their phones and called investigators with the information that they needed to take this dangerous criminal off the streets,” said Supt. Gary Steinke, officer-in-charge of the RCMP serious crimes unit.
The six-year-old girl was found lying naked and severely injured in the snow on the reserve west of Edmonton on Saturday. Steinke estimates that she had been lying there for several hours.
The girl remains in hospital, still unconscious, and is in stable but very serious condition.
Steinke says that the accused is known to the girl.
"It was not an unknown, predatorial attack," he said.
The child's family is completely devastated by what happened.
The girl's grand-uncle, who cannot be identified, says the family is pulling together to support each other and to take care of the children who found her.
"We can't falter," he said. "We can't feel sad in the heart or in the mind because if we do that, she's going to feel it, so we got to stand strong."
The girl was tobogganing with friends on a Saturday afternoon before she was attacked. She broke away from the group after going home to change into dry clothes.
RCMP would not provide additional details because the case is now before the courts.