SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KTVU) - A 39-year-old man was arrested for the 2002 kidnapping and rape of a teenage girl in Santa Rosa after DNA evidence linked him to the crime.
Juan Martinez Lopes, 39, was arrested on Sept. 13 and booked on two felony counts of rape and kidnapping.
According to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, on Mar. 17, 2002 a 16-year-old girl was walking on Sebastopol Road when a man started walking towards her and calling for her attention.
The girl didn't know the man, later identified as Lopes.
She became frightened and tried to run away from Lopes, but he grabbed her. The man dragged the girl to a field and raped her, Sergeant Juan Valencia said in a press release. The victim fought Lopes off and was able to break free. She tried to run away, but Lopes caught her and dragged her back to the vacant field where he raped her a second time, officials say.
Eventually, she was able to escape. She hid in a nearby unlocked vehicle until the man left the area. Then she found a telephone and called for help.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Unit had been investigating the incident. Physical evidence was obtained during the investigation. The suspect was identified as Juan Martinez Lopes, from a photo line-up. Lopes fled to Mexico and a $500,000 warrant was issued for his arrest.
In September 2019, Sonoma County deputies were notified by the Madera County Sheriff’s Office that Lopes was in custody for a recent arrest for public intoxication. Deputies obtained a search warrant for Lopes' DNA and drove to Madera County to collect a sample.
The evidence obtained from the victim’s forensic examination linked Lopes to the crime. He was transported to Sonoma County jail where he remains on a $500,000 bail.