A 15-year-old Haines City high school female student was attacked by a man while walking to school around 6:45 a.m. Thursday.
According to Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky, the teenager noticed the man kept following her as she tried to walk to school near East Grace Avenue and South 21st Street.
Police say the girl tried to get away from him by crossing the street but he continued to follow her. The Chief said when she tried running, he attacked her on the grass.
"She had red marks around her neck," said Chief Elensky. "Clearly the guy had his hands around her neck that's how he got her to the ground. There is no question this is the real deal. It does not get more real than this."
Police say the girl was able to fight off her attacker. The Chief praises her for fighting back. She told authorities she learned it from her parents.
The Haines City High School student reported the incident to an administrator. Detectives began their investigation and started search their database for sexual predators and offenders, who recently got out of jail who had the same modus operandi.
The Chief said 22-year-old Tristan Calixe, who lived only a few hundred yards from where the attack occurred, was released recently from jail for punching a 14-year-old girl walking on a trail a few summers ago.
Authorities tracked down and arrested Calixe Thursday afternoon.
"We are convinced we have our man...again if you want to call him a man. He will be going to the Polk County jail," said Chief Elensky. "So, I'm proud of our detectives for getting on this as fast as they did and working as hard as they did and getting this guy identified. So now our children, in this particular case, can rest easy."
Chief Elensky said Calixe will face a number of charges.
The Chief also requested for witnesses to call them if they saw the suspect near the location where the attacked happened. Police would like to speak to a woman driving a van who was in the area shortly after the attacked.