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Community Rallies For 9-Year-Old Outside Hearing For Man Accused In Her Attempted Abduction

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (KDKA) - People gathered outside of Magisterial District Court in Coraopolis to show their support for a 9-year-old girl named Dezi who fought back when a stranger tried to drag her from her bus stop.

Forty-year-old William Gorring was inside Magisterial District Judge Michele K. Santicola's courtroom for his preliminary hearing on Tuesday. Gorring entered a not guilty plea on all six charges and the charges were held for court. He had nothing to say as he left the courtroom.

"We're just here to bring awareness to the issue and to support Dezi because she is an amazing little girl who was so brave and she knew what to do, was aware of her surroundings," said Cindy Whitner, Dezi's aunt.

william gorring prelim (1)
(Photo: KDKA Photojournalist Scott Danka)

Dezi's family said she has a huge support system, which includes family, friends, community members, police officers and borough officials like the mayor of Coraopolis. They are all so proud of her for being brave and they want justice for her.

"We want to show that we're not going to stand for this. We want Dezi to get justice and we don't want this to happen to any other kids," said Kristen McKee, Dezi's relative.

"We just hope that justice is served for Dezi and that he gets the proper punishment for it," said Cindy Whitner, Dezi's aunt.

Dezi, who is a Cornell Elementary School student, talked to KDKA's Meghan Schiller after the attempted kidnapping incident happened on the morning of Jan. 6. She said when Gorring grabbed her from behind and tried to drag her from the bus stop, she dropped to the ground to break free and her bus driver yelled out her name.

"I threw my head back and his hand slipped off my mouth but he had his hand on my back too and so I got my head twisted and got direct eye contact with the bus driver," Dezi said.

Coraopolis police said Dezi remembered details and a complete description of the stranger, and that's why they were able to arrest him within an hour.

Loved ones said Dezi is a hero because she knew exactly what to do.

"We're just really proud of her because she handled herself so well. She did everything right to save herself. She saved her own life," said Melanie Rauterkus, a relative of Dezi's.

They hope other children will learn how to protect themselves like Dezi did.

"We feel like a lot of times the kids are, we don't want to scare them, but we want to make sure they know to be aware of their surroundings and if something looks wrong to let an adult know," said Whitner.

william gorring prelim
(Photo: KDKA)

Gorring's charges are held for court, and he will be formally arraigned on March 17 at 2 p.m. at the Allegheny County Courthouse. Gorring is facing several charges, including attempted kidnapping, attempting to interfere with the custody of a child, unlawful restraint of a minor, false imprisonment and two counts of aggravated assault.

Police said Gorring admitted to it and said he wanted to hurt the little girl, but she got away.

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