16-year-old girl found naked, pepper-sprayed in Elmwood

A 16-year old girl was found at Ashby and Piedmont Avenues this morning. She was naked and may have been sexually assaulted. Photo: Tracey Taylor
A 16-year-old girl was found Wednesday morning near this spot at Ashby and Piedmont avenues in the Elmwood. She was naked and may have been sexually assaulted. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Update, April 17: The San Francisco Police Department has taken over this case. According to KTVU, “The girl initially told authorities she had been kidnapped and robbed in Oakland and then dropped off in Berkeley. Oakland Police said the case could be related to human sex trafficking. Then they turned the case over the SFPD after the girl changed her story.” SFPD will investigate the case as a kidnapping and robbery, but not a sexual assault.

Update, 7:25 p.m. The Oakland Police Department released the following statement at 4:45 p.m.: “Investigators have learned this incident occurred in another jurisdiction. The victim is a juvenile. This case may be associated with human sex trafficking.” Any instance in which a minor is induced to engage in prostitution or other commercial sex acts is considered sex trafficking; the Alameda County district attorney’s office has made the reduction of these activities a priority.

Original post: A teenage girl who may have been sexually assaulted was found naked and suffering from pepper spray in the Elmwood district early Wednesday morning, according to Berkeley Police scanner traffic, authorities and media reports.

Residents in the 2900 block of Piedmont Avenue, near Ashby Avenue, were awoken shortly after 5 a.m. to the sound of the girl screaming, “Help me,” according to scanner traffic recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside. 


The 16-year-old girl told authorities she had been raped.

Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, said Berkeley police officers responded to the area after receiving reports of a girl yelling for help at 5:06 a.m.

The teenager was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.

The Oakland Police Department was called in at 6:21 a.m., said Officer Johnna Watson, Oakland Police spokeswoman.

“Currently the Oakland Police Department is investigating a report of a female juvenile (late teens) who reported she was robbed and kidnapped from an unknown location in Oakland and dropped off in the 2900 block of Piedmont in the City of Berkeley this morning around 6:21 a.m. The victim is currently at a local hospital. The investigation continues,” Watson said at around 11:15 a.m.

Elmwood neighbors told NBC Bay Area they were awakened early Wednesday by a girl screaming for help.

“She was screaming help me, help and when we got closer she said, ‘I can’t see. I’ve been pepper sprayed I can’t see,” Senobar Lanigan told NBC Bay Area. Lanigan said the girl was naked and said she had been raped.

Dana MacDermott heard the screams, too, and told NBC: “It’s disturbing and I hope she’s all right whatever the story is. Whatever happened, I hope she’s all right.”

Berkeleyside updated this article as more information became available.

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