Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Thursday evening tried to allay the fears of residents in Chicago's Belmont-Cragin neighborhood, promising to catch the "monster" who brutally attacked a 15-year-old girl earlier this week.
Still, he conceded that his officers were not close to cracking the case.
"Try not to go out by yourself," he told those gathered at Northwest Community Church, on the 5300 block of West Diversey. "We are going to make sure that we catch this monster."
The teen, an honor student at a charter school, was found lying bloody and battered shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday morning in front of a home on the 2400 block of North Long Avenue. The resident who found her said her pants and shoes were on, but her backpack was dropped in an alleyway.
McCarthy said officers had to try and sift through mounds of garbage with rakes to try and find clues.
The victim remained at Mount Sinai Hospital with serious head injuries. McCarthy described her condition as "still on the fence."
Although the teen isn't a student of Chicago Public Schools, she was attacked just four houses away from one of the district's Safe Passage routes. NBC Chicago has chosen not to identify the girl's school to protect her privacy.
On Wednesday, Chicago police officers and members of the Guardian Angels community group worked side-by-side to disseminate information about the crime in hopes of ultimately catching the girl's attacker.
On the same day, a letter from an official at the girl's school sent a letter to parents and students.
"This is a terrible incident and we are all deeply saddened that a member of our ... family was the victim of such an awful attack," the letter read.