The 8-year-old girl who told police she was kidnapped from her home and raped in a north Lincoln garage in August still has trouble sleeping at night, her parents said in a recent interview.
Even though Cody Riddle, the man accused of kidnapping her, sits in jail on felony charges, the girl fears being kidnapped again, they said.
Since the early morning hours of Aug. 28, the blond-haired girl hasn’t been herself, her parents said.
“You can see her spirit broken,” said her father.
The girl who flashes a wide smile in photos walked into her parents’ bedroom in the early hours of Aug. 28, her face covered in tears.
She told them she woke in a garage, held by a man who called himself a prisoner.
The events from that night have tested the faith of the Lincoln family, which is trying to help her move forward and wants to move away from the home where police say the girl was abused.
Investigators believe Riddle entered the family’s home through the kitchen door from the garage, then went into the girl's room and carried her out as she slept.
They say he took her to the garage of his family's nearby home, where he bound her hands behind her back, hit her in the face and sexually assaulted her, police said.
Later, he let her go but threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone, police said.
The girl found her way home, but by the time she got there someone in the family -- police think he was out on the deck when she was kidnapped -- had closed the half-open kitchen door, her father said.
The girl tapped on the window to her bedroom, waking her sister, said her parents.
She told the sister she dreamed she had been taken by a prisoner, and they went to tell their parents.
“He let me go,” she told them.
At 4 in the morning, they recalled, it seemed like she had had a nightmare.
“The way she told us, it was like a horrified dream,” said the girl's mother.
Later that morning, they said, they saw red marks on her face and started to have doubts. In the afternoon, they went to the police substation at 27th and Holdrege streets.
Police arrested Riddle later that day, and he remains in jail on charges of aggravated kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault of a child and burglary.
Meanwhile, the girl's parents worry that the ordeal will hit her hard in her teenage years, when she starts to grasp all that happened to her, they said.
For now, neither she nor her siblings grasp the scope of what happened.
The siblings are jealous of all the attention the 8-year-old is getting, attention her parents say she needs to feel secure.
Some of the children, the parents say, tell them this: “I wished we were kidnapped so you guys could give us that attention.”
The father is on the road about 70 hours a week. He’s looking for a job closer to home, and the family wants to move to a different house, but first they have to finish the basement so they can sell the house.
Recently, the mother said, the girl has had better days but when they drive by the house where Cody Riddle lived, it triggers her memory.
At night, the second-grader's mom said she often lies down next to her daughter to help her get to sleep. But she still has nightmares.
She’s back in therapy after taking a break because of conflicts with her schedule, her parents said.
And at school, she likes drawing and writing but not math.
She’s OK when she’s busy.
“Inside her I can see (this) battle going on (like) she’s trying not to think about it,” said her mom.
“We just all kind of try to work everything out to normal -- like it was before.”