Man, 58, accused of raping 11-year-old girl in North Miami Beach

Diego Abella Franco (MDCR)

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A 58-year-old northwest Miami-Dade man was arrested Thursday after being accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in North Miami Beach.

According to an arrest warrant, the victim reported having been sexually assaulted by Diego Fernando Abella Franco over a span of about six years.

Local 10 News is not specifying how Abella Franco knew the girl in order to protect her identity.

North Miami Beach police Detective Zoila Exclusa wrote that she met with the girl on Oct. 13, who told her that she had been “sexually abused” by Abella Franco four days earlier.

The girl told Exclusa that Abella Franco called the girl into his bedroom, handed her a cellphone with no one on the other line, then locked the door and threatened to make her life miserable “if you don’t do what I say,” the report states.

Exclusa wrote that Abella Franco then raped the girl and later threatened to tell the victim’s relative that she was “smoking weed” if she told anyone.

Another child had knocked on the door after hearing the girl screaming, police wrote.

According to the report, the girl said she told relatives about the years of abuse and at one point reported it to a teacher out-of-state but Abella Franco would say she was “lying.”

She told police that a relative would tell her “it was a dream.”

In an interview with police, Abella Franco said the girl “uses vapes and is a liar,” and claimed she entered the bedroom on her own and that no sexual activity had taken place, the report states.

Abella Franco, a Colombian national, was arrested at the North Miami Beach Police Department on a charge of sexual battery on a victim under 12.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.