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Hooligans target handicapped girl

Police are looking for a pair of thugs who pepper sprayed at least three people in a span of a couple of days at a park in Rutland.

One of the victims was a handicapped 31-year-old woman who functions as a three-year-old.

According to the woman's mother, Chris Smith, her daughter and worker had stopped at Chichester Park at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday after an afternoon of hiking in the area.

Smith says they decided to stop in the park to rest, have a bite to eat and listen to the birds.

What happened next would horrify any parent.

"They were sitting, minding their own business, enjoying their surroundings when all of a sudden two young teenagers came up on a BMX bike and proceeded to pepper spray them in their faces and their eyes," says Smith.

"They left them jeering and laughing. Needless to say they didn't get a look at the perpetrators."

Smith says police brought out tracking dogs but because the individuals were on bikes, they were unable to pick up a scent.

While her daughter was left with swollen eyes and burns on her face and chest, it's the emotional toll that troubles her most.

"She thinks she's been bad - she thinks she's done something wrong," says Smith.

"She constantly keep crying and saying she's sorry."

Officials at the group home where Smith's daughter lives says they have been providing a lot of positive re-affirmation to re-enforce the fact she did nothing wrong that it was the boys who were bad.

Police who attended indicated a seven-year-old girl was also pepper sprayed in the same park a day or two earlier.

As a parent, Smith says it's been horrifying for her as well.

"It's absolutely the most gut wrenching thing you can experience knowing your child has been victimized. Especially a child who cannot defend herself," says Smith.

As for what she would say to the two suspects if she ever came face to face with them.

"Honest to goodness, you do not ever want to publish what I want to say to these boys if I find them. I don't think I should ever come upon them because I doubt if I would be able to restrain myself," says Smith.

"I'm absolutely mortified that anyone could do this to another human being."

Smith says she believes her daughter was targeted specifically because of her handicap and her inability to protect herself.

RCMP Cst. Kris Clark says this attack was senseless.

"You target somebody that can't defend themselves. What kind of a man are you? You are trying to look cool but, guess what, she's basically a three-year-old," says Clark.

"Now who's the man."

Anyone with information on this attack should contact Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

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