Daniel Santucci Jr., 23, held on charges in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl

Elsmere man indicted in Pike Creek kidnapping and sexual assault

An Elsmere man has been indicted on a number of charges in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl in Pike Creek April 6.

According to court documents, Daniel Santucci Jr., 23, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, two counts of second-degree rape, three counts of first-degree unlawful sexual contact and possession of child pornography.

A grand jury handed down the indictment Sept. 18.

Santucci was extradited from Florida in May, after being identified by New Castle County Police as a “person of interest” in the case.

Santucci was identified after detectives found his black Honda Civic abandoned in the middle of Centerville Road with the driver’s door open.

Police said detectives believed Santucci staged his own disappearance. They discovered he had fled to Florida on a Greyhound bus, which violated the conditions of his Delaware probation for burglary charges.

Santucci was previously linked to a series of burglaries in the Hockessin Valley Falls community, in homes along Harrison Drive and Peoples Way, in May 2012.  He was 18 at the time, according to police.

On April 20, authorities located and arrested Santucci in Tampa, Florida, for violation of probation.

Santucci was held in Florida until he was extradited to Delaware May 1.

Through the investigation, detectives concluded that Santucci lured the 4-year-old victim to his car in the Village of Plum Run, kidnapped her, sexually assaulted her, and then threw her into the large pond in the back of Banning Park in an effort to end her life, documents state. The girl survived and was found walking near the park.

Detectives have found no evidence indicating that Santucci and the victim knew each other in any way.

They further found Santucci in possession of child pornography not related to the victim, police said, noting several files on his phone of a female child believed to be between 4 and 8 years old.