The victim fought back and escaped Mitchell’s grasp, but he pepper-sprayed her in the face and cut her arm with the knife, police said.
The woman eventually broke free and screamed for help as Mitchell left the scene, according to authorities. Someone heard the woman’s cries, went to her and waited until police arrived.
Officers searched the area but eventually called it off.
A description of the man and a sketch were released in the weeks following the sexual assault, but the investigation at the time did not lead to any arrests.
That changed when an employee of Classic Collision in Alpharetta told police where they could find the alleged suspect: in the Cobb County Jail.
The tipster said they recognized the person in the sketch as Mitchell, a former employee of the body shop, from media reports in connection with an attempted kidnapping at Town Center at Cobb.
Mitchell was arrested May 8 after mall shoppers restrained him, AJC.com previously reported.
The 11-year-old girl was at the mall with her family when she asked to use the restroom in the food court, Cobb County police said. She was accompanied by her father, who remained in the hallway leading to the restrooms as the girl went inside.
The girl told police she did not see anyone in the restroom with her, but when she exited the stall, the door across from it opened.
Police said that’s when Mitchell grabbed the girl and put a knife to her throat. The girl screamed, broke free and pointed Mitchell out to her father.
Mitchell remains in jail on charges of aggravated assault, attempted kidnapping and first-degree cruelty to children.
Alpharetta police said after Mitchell is prosecuted in the Cobb County case, he will be transferred to the Fulton County Jail where he will await trial for his latest charges of aggravated assault, kidnapping and sexual battery.
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