Santa Rosa man arrested for 2002 rape of 16-year-old girl after fleeing to Mexico

SONOMA COUNTY (KTXL) — The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man for the 2002 kidnapping and rape of a 16-year-old girl in Santa Rosa.

Around 1:30 a.m. on March 17, 2002, the 16-year-old girl was walking near Sebastopol Road and Hampton Way when she was attacked by the suspect, now identified as 39-year-old Juan Martinez Lopez.

Authorities said Lopes dragged the girl into a field and raped her. She fought him off and ran away but was caught by Lopes. He then dragged her back to the field and raped her again, officials said.

Eventually, the victim broke free and hid in an unlocked vehicle until Lopes left the area.

Authorities collected DNA evidence during their investigation and Lopes was later identified in a photo lineup.

He allegedly fled to Mexico and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

In September 2019, the Madera County  Sheriff’s Office arrested Lopes for public intoxication. DNA collected from Lopes linked him to the 2002 rape.

On Sept. 13, he was transferred back to Sonoma County and arrested for two felony counts of rape and kidnapping. His bail is set at $500,000.

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