DNA links Richmond man to sex assaults at gunpoint in Palo Alto and Oakland, police say

Police detectives arrested a 29-year-old Richmond man Sunday morning in connection with the sexual assaults of a teenage jogger in Palo Alto, and  a woman who said she was was robbed and assaulted a few weeks earlier in the parking lot of Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline in Oakland.

Eduardo Antonio Chavarria-Diaz was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, and sexual penetration by force in the Palo Alto case.

East Bay Regional Park District Police Lt. Gretchen Rose told KTVU on Monday that her agency plan to file charges against him after he was interviewed by her officers on Sunday, too. She is waiting for the Alameda County District Attorney to decide how to proceed if the charges should be filed as one case or two.

Rose said that the same suspect DNA was found at the Palo Alto and Oakland crime scenes, linking Chavarria-Diaz to both.

Efforts to contact him for an interview were not immediately successful on Monday.

The Palo Alto charges stem from a sexual assault reported on March 28 just before 2 p.m. A high school age woman was jogging in the greenbelt area of Arastradero Road and Deer Creek Road. The teen told police that a man suddenly appeared on the jogging path that runs parallel to Arastradero Road, pulled her off of the path, placed a gun to her head, and sexually assaulted her. 

He then ran away and she flagged down someone for help. She described the man to police and there was certain "evidence" found at the scene, Capt. Zach Perron said. SkyFox flew over the scene as police and their dogs hunted for the suspect to no avail. In an interview with KTVU on Monday morning, Perron said that detectives "worked tirelessly" on this case.

As they were investigating this assault, Palo Alto police learned about a similar assault March 4 in Oakland at the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline. Rose said that an adult woman reported being assaulted and robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot by Garretson Point along the shoreline about 5 p.m.

He was arrested Sunday at a home in the 100 block of South 9th Street in Richmond.


KTVU's Leigh Martinez contributed to this report.