Clifton Police charge 2 teens after girl was lured to park, assaulted while group watched and recorded video
CLIFTON, Texas (KWTX) - The Clifton Police Department arrested Savannah Walker, 17, and Ahliah Vestal, 17, and charged both with aggravated assault after an attack against a 17-year-old girl at Clifton City Park Monday night that was recorded by an individual as a group of people gathered to watch.
“Apparently it had something to do with a boy, and so a mutual friend of these two set up this meeting at the Clifton City Park for the sole purpose of fighting,” said Clifton Police Chief Chris Blanton. “Once the victim showed up, she got jumped by this girl.”
Blanton said Walker was the physical attacker, but Vestal had arranged the meeting and was encouraging the violence.
He confirmed their arrests to KWTX and said both are being charged as adults.
“Kids in high school here need to know that if you go and take advantage of somebody like this, we’re going to put you in jail,” said Blanton.
A third arrest involving a 16-year-old juvenile is pending on the same charge. As a result of a lack of juvenile facilities and resources in the area currently, the juvenile will be charged, but not jailed at this time, the police chief said.
Blanton said the juvenile was filming the incident.
He compared it to a bank robbery, saying just because you’re the getaway driver and not the one doing the robbing...doesn’t mean you’re not accountable.
“Being there and filming it, antagonizing it and cheering it on, is not okay,” said Blanton. “These other two didn’t throw a punch, but they helped plan it and helped set it up, filmed it and they encouraged it, so that’s the reason they’re getting charged the same.”
There has been a lot of rumors surrounding the case, but Blanton says it was not a random attack or an “agreed upon” fight.
“Seems like it was a one-way thing, the victim didn’t seem to have many issues with the suspect (Walker), but the suspect had some serious problems with the victim, and that was her way of settling it,” said Blanton.
And “her way” was the illegal way, Blanton says.
Both Walker and Vestal have been released from the Bosque County Jail after posting bond.
Making the stakes even higher: the victim, Maya Tremillo, 17, had recently filed a police report against Walker for harassment, police confirmed to KWTX.
”There was a police report filed about a month ago by the victim, and through our investigation found out this was a retaliation for the victim filing the police report, so that makes it a first degree felony,” said Blanton. “It’s not something we’re taking lightly, the school’s not taking it lightly, the community’s not taking it lightly, it’s a very serious thing.”
It’s unclear what the Clifton Independent School District is doing in response to the incident.
WATCH: KWTX obtained permission to use video of the assault at the park
However, the victim’s mother, Julie Kross, says they’ve agreed to let her daughter--who is just weeks away from graduating from Clifton High School a year early--finish from home.
“I just want her to get through school and not have to worry about these things and not have to look over her shoulder,” Kross told KWTX Wednesday.
“There were other people there during the fight, but they did not actively participate in the assault ... rest assured, we are going to be charging those involved to the fullest extent of the law,” Blanton wroite in a Facebook post earlier this week.
Kross, of Clifton, shared her story with KWTX to raise awareness about the attack. Kross is using the hashtags “Silence Kills” and “Justice for Maya” on social media.
“The oppressor, if you keep silent, you’re giving them power,” said Kross. “I don’t want them to have that kind of power, I want my daughter to have that kind of power.”
The mother told KWTX Maya was lured to the park by her best friend who said she needed a certain pair of shoes to wear to school the next day, and when she returned them late Monday night, she was surrounded by a group of people and attacked.
“Before anything even started--she’s taping it, and then this girl starts yelling at Maya, and Maya turns around and she’s trying to walk away from her to get into her car to leave, and so the girl hit her on the back of her head,” the mother said. “Only one person was physically beating her. The rest stood around filming it and encouraging the other girl, saying, ‘get her’ and ‘beat her ass.’”
Maya, who works as a nurses aid at a nursing home, has been staying with her grandmother to take care of her after a bad fall in January.
Kross’ sisters happened to be there Monday night visiting their mom.
Thankfully, Kross says, her sister, had gone with Maya to the park that night because she felt something was wrong from the get-go.
“It was late and the girl wouldn’t come pick up her shoes from the house,” said Kross.
Video footage shows the aunt prying the attacker off of Maya so she could get away.
“She goes over there and starts pulling the other girl off of my daughter and telling her to ‘stop’ and ‘get off of her,’” said Kross. “Then girl turned on my sister and started punching and kicking her, throwing dirt on her.”
The mother confirmed the attack on her daughter was retaliation for a police report they filed about a month ago.
“She was making threats toward her, at that time, saying she was going to ‘beat her up’ and ‘watch her back’ and stuff like that,” said Kross. “And then Monday night, the girl who was attacking her, she said ‘go file a report on that now.’”
Kross said her daughter is back home from the hospital but suffered serious injuries. “She’s in a lot of pain and stiff. Her back, ribs, and neck hurt. It’s difficult to walk. She suffered a sprained ankle and a concussion. She is traumatized,” the mother said, “I’m worried how this will affect her.”
On Wednesday, Kross also took her daughter to the doctor for a damaged cornea.
“It looked like they were trying to scratch her eyes out,” said Kross. “It’s not the physical stuff that’s breaking my heart...it’s what they did to her soul.”
She says she wants those responsible outed and prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law.
“I don’t want everybody to just hear their side of the story because they’re going to put their own twist on it,” said Kross. “Silence is dangerous. Silence kills people. Something has to be done. Something will be done.”
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