California man who escaped to Mexico after alleged kidnapping, rape of teen girl arrested, investigators say
California investigators on Monday announced the arrest of a man who had escaped to Mexico after allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl in 2002.
Juan Martinez Lopes, 39, was arrested last month and charged with rape and kidnapping, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, which called the crime a random act.
Lopes was accused of raping the girl in a field in Santa Rosa and then raping her again when he caught her after she broke free and tried to run away, Sgt. Juan Valencia said.
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Eventually, the girl was able to break free a second time, Valencia said. “She hid inside a nearby unlocked vehicle until Lopes was gone. Then she found a telephone and called for help,” he said.
He said Lopes was identified as a suspect when the teenager picked him out of a photo lineup.
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Lopes then took off to Mexico and a warrant was issued for his arrest, the sergeant said.
The case went cold until last month when Lopes was picked up for public intoxication in Madera County, according to Valencia.
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“Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Detectives obtained a search warrant for Lopes’ DNA and drove to Madera County to collect a sample of Lopes’ DNA as evidence,” he said.
Valencia said the evidence obtained from the victim's forensic examination linked Lopes to the crime.