A 9-year-old elementary school student who fought off a would-be kidnapper as she walked to school described her terrifying morning after the incident.
"He put his hand over my mouth and I bit him," said the young girl, whose parents allowed her to talk to a reporter.
The girl said a man tried to pull her into his van. She had visible scratches on her right cheek and nose after the incident, which took place at 8:45 Monday morning at the corner of Latimer Street and Flipper Drive, according to San Diego police. That location is about three blocks away from Valencia Park Center for Academics, Drama and Dance elementary school.
The incident happened in front of Carol Moody's home.
"I heard the girl scream," Moody said. "She was saying, 'Help me! Help me!' "
The girl, who is in the fourth grade, escaped and continued on to school, where she reported the attack to the nurse.
On Monday afternoon, San Diego police updated their description of the suspect and his van. Police said the suspect is a Latino between 25 and 40 years old with a stocky build. He was wearing a lime-green long-sleeve shirt with black or blue pants. The van is now described as a white '90s model Plymouth Voyager (or similar) minivan with clear windows and a sliding side passenger door.
The school has put out a notice for students to take home.
"It is important that we stay vigilant and aware of our surroundings," reads the notice sent out by Principal Penny Simmons.
The notice offers safety tips for students that include "Never take a ride with a stranger."
Anyone with information about the case is being urged to call San Diego police or CrimeStoppers at 888-580-8477.