Through the cooperation of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, a suspect in the alleged kidnapping and molestation of a 6-year-old girl last week was arrested Wednesday.
The suspect will appear in Yakima County Superior Court for a preliminary hearing today at 1:30 pm. Police are not releasing the name of the suspect until he appears in court.
The suspect was arrested after evidence obtained during the initial investigation of the alleged kidnapping and assault linked him to the incident.
On Wednesday, April 6th at about 7:00 pm, Yakima police responded to a call in the 700 block of North 3rd Street of a missing 6-year-old girl. The girl’s mother told police she last saw her daughter at about 3:00 pm that day. She had searched for her daughter for several hours before calling police.
About 45 minutes after police were called to the scene, a Yakima Police Department (YPD) patrol sergeant found the girl walking in the area of the 900 block of North 4th Street. While talking to the girl, it became apparent to the patrol sergeant the girl may have been picked up by a stranger and assaulted. She was taken to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital for an examination.
Detectives from the YPD Special Assault Unit were notified and took over the investigation.
Evidence gathered from the hospital was sent to the Washington State Patrol Criminal Laboratory in Vancouver, Washington with a requested rush based on the stranger abduction crime. Meanwhile, YPD detectives scoured the neighborhood around the 900 block of North 4th Street searching for surveillance video and interviewing neighbors. For several days the YPD asked for the public’s help by reviewing home and business surveillance videos.
Earlier this week, YPD detectives were watching video from a local business and saw a car driving erratically in the area where the girl was found. Detectives traced the car back to a man who lives in 1200 block of South 9th Avenue.
Yesterday, detectives from the YPD Special Assault Unit and the YPD Gang Unit and agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF) followed the person of interest for most of the morning while he drove around the area near Hoover Elementary.
Later in the day, detectives were notified by the Washington State Patrol Criminal Laboratory that DNA from the evidence YPD detectives had submitted last week had been identified. The results from the presumptive DNA sample helped YPD detectives develop probable cause to make an arrest.
Detectives from the YPD Special Assault Unit and YPD Gang Unit, along with federal agents from the ATF, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, arrested the suspect as he was returning to his home.
“The persistence of YPD Special Assault Unit detectives and the quick response by the Washington State Patrol Criminal Laboratory led to an arrest quickly being made in this case,” said YPD Captain Jay Seely. “This case was our top priority, and as indicated by the overwhelming response from our local, state and federal partners, anytime someone harms a child we will devote every resource available to find them and bring them to justice,” said Seely.