ELIZABETH, NJ--Investigators are asking for assistance from the public in identifying and locating a suspect wanted for the alleged luring and sexual assault of a teenager in Elizabeth last week.

On Thursday, December 7, the Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit received a referral from the Elizabeth Police Department regarding the incident, which took place at approximately 5:30 p.m. the day before, on December 6.

A 15-year-old victim was walking on Elizabeth Avenue near the U.S. Routes 1&9 entrance ramp, according to the preliminary investigation. The suspect approached the victim in a beige four-door sedan, and asked her for directions to a local mall, then convinced her to enter his vehicle, the investigation revealed. The alleged sexual assault took place approximately 15 to 20 minutes later on nearby Livingston Street.

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The Prosecutor’s Office today has distributed a New Jersey State Police artist sketch of the suspect, described as an unknown Hispanic male, possibly in his 30s, with short-trimmed facial hair and wearing a black winter hat. Investigators are also releasing a brief surveillance video clip depicting the suspect’s vehicle traveling through Elizabeth.

Anyone with information about the suspect’s identity or whereabouts is being asked to contact Special Victims Unit Detective Joanne Son at 908-477-1698 or Sgt. Timothy Durkin at 973-698-9529.

The Union County Crime Stoppers also is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case; tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477), via text message by texting “UCTIP” plus a message to 274637 (CRIMES), or online at www.uctip.org.

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