Cobbs Creek Community ‘Back to Normal’ Three Months After Abduction, Rape

Sarah Glover

Three months after a 5 year-old girl was abducted from her Cobbs Creek school and raped, the community remains close despite the attention the crime brought to the neighborhood surrounding Bryant Elementary School.

"Everything turned back to normal. There's still fights coming and going out of the school," said Rafiq Nasir, a worker at Nerue Car Wash, which is located directly across the street from the school's front doors. 

"No one's talking about nothing. Maybe they want to forget it. If it was a white little girl, there would be more media attention. If she was white, they would still carry on and look for others."

A woman who worked at Bryant Elementary school's after-school daycare was arrested for the crime. Christina Regusters, 19, has been transferred from the jail facility due to safety concerns. Concerns remain about the lack of movement in the case. 

"Me personally, I don't think they got everybody," said Nasir. A friend of the alleged kidnapper alleges "she's not the only one."

Regusters was taken into custody on February 14, along with three other people who all lived in a home five blocks away from the school. The victim, after weeks of memory-recovery sessions, was able to lead investigators to that house, and told them that was where the crime occurred. Regusters was the only one jailed and charged in the case. Last month, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was preparing to convene a grand jury. Attorneys for both the suspect and the victim believe that more people -- at least one man -- was involved.

The concerns are not just felt in the community. The crime rocked the city. Even Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who says he is usually able to push the emotion of a brutal crime aside, admitted he has had dreams about the case.

Samirryyah Kinard walked by the school Monday afternoon with a small group of preschool-aged children. They were all holding hands as they returned from an Earth Day activity-- cleaning up trash in the neighborhood on a sunny day.

"We are more friendly," said Kinard. "I feel the police. They come in packs walking up and down the street all day."

"To an extent people ask other people about the investigation. But, more so people ask about daycare itself and whether it's safe."

"A community is supposed to stick together," said Thompson Jones while chatting with a crossing guard at the corner of Cedar and S. 61 Streets. The two stood at a corner across the street from Bryant elementary at 60th Street and Cedar Avenue, where the girl was abducted.

The Nerue Car Wash business slowed down around the time of the abduction but has since picked up, according to Nasir. He doesn't know if it was the weather or the volume of cars on the street related to the investigation. "I only hear teachers talk about the crime," Nasir said. 

On the day of the abduction, January 14, the car wash wasn't open. Nasir was at a doctor's appointment. He said he wishes he'd been at work that day doing what he usually does-- standing by watching the street.

"If I would have been open, I don't think she would have attempted the abduction."

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