Parts of the attack were captured on a neighbor's home surveillance system. In an attempt to find the suspect, the video was posted on YouTube Saturday by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff's department said in a news release that the man then carried her to a low-hanging oak tree, where he attempted to sexually assault her. The girl told him that "There were people in the area and that he better leave," and he fled, according to the sheriff's department.
The girl then ran to the church to report the attack. Deputies and police dogs were not able to track the suspect.
The sheriff's office said the attack matches two prior similar assaults on girls in broad daylight. The incidents were not linked before because they were handled by different law enforcement agencies.
On Jan. 31, a 15-year-old girl was walking home when she was grabbed from behind and then sexually assaulted, according to the Bradenton Police Department.
Another 15-year-old girl was grabbed Nov. 29, 2010, also while walking home from school. The man forced her to the ground but she kicked him in the head and ran home. The suspect fled, according to a police report.
"I think we've got a predator out there," Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube told ABC News. "We need everybody's help and everybody's eyes out here."
Authorities are advising parents at area schools to warn their children to stay in groups rather than walk alone. They are also suggesting that parents drive children to and from school until the suspect is captured.
The video footage came from a man who lives near the church and checked his home surveillance tapes after hearing of the attack, according to the Bradenton Herald.
The girl's father stopped by the man's house Saturday to express his appreciation for sharing the tape, the newspaper reported.
"He thanked me," Victor Taylor told the newspaper. "I would have done it for anyone."
The sheriff's office also released surveillance video from a nearby high school showing a man believed to be the suspect walking in a dark hoodie on campus. Authorities are hoping someone can recognize him by his unusual gait.