ATTLEBORO, MASS. (WHDH) - An arrest has been made almost 30 years after a violent rape was reported in Attleboro, according to law officials.
The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office announced Eduardo Mendez, 48, was arrested earlier this week in New York City on a warrant issued by the DA two years ago. Officials said he was apprehended Tuesday night, 28 years after the rape was reported.
Authorities said it happened on June 9, 1994, when three men in Attleboro accosted a woman while she was walking near the Pleasant Street Bridge. The victim was reportedly forced into a nearby building’s stairwell with her mouth covered as she tried to scream, and was held down by two of the men while the third committed the rape.
The three fled afterwards, while the victim was able to report the case to police and provided a description of the suspects, noting that the rapist had gold on his teeth. She was later treated at a local hospital where a rape kit was administered and collected.
Over several decades, the kit became one of at least 7,000 that went untested by the state lab, according to the DA’s office. However, through the office’s Untested Rape Kit Initiative, testing 1,148 Bristol County kits, new testing revealed a DNA profile that was then uploaded to a national database.
The DA’s office said the upload was matched with Mendez, who had already been in the national system after being convicted for a stabbing in New York. Further investigation found his physical description matched the one given by the victim in ’94, that he lived a few houses away from where the rape occurred and that he also had gold on his teeth.
The warrant for Mendez’s arrest was issued in September, 2020, leading to a two year investigation involving the DA’s office, local and State Police, and the U.S. Marshall’s office. On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Mendez was reportedly apprehended in Brooklyn by U.S. Marshalls, as well as the New York City Sheriff’s Office and New York City Police.
According to the press release, when informed of the arrest, the victim “was ecstatic and … fully on board with the prosecution of (the) case.” The victim also reportedly said she was relieved to hear the news and that even after more than 25 years, she is “still living with” what happened in 1994. She also said she had lost hope the case would ever be solved.
“I am extremely pleased that our rape kit testing initiative has already resulted in four separate cold case rapes being solved from more than a decade ago,” District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn said in a statement. “All of these cases demonstrate the importance of fully testing all sexual assault kits. If we did not obtain the grant to have all these kits fully tested, this case may never have been solved. Victims, like the one in this case, who have been sexually assaulted have gone through a very traumatic experience and have a right to have these kits fully tested, especially when an assailant cannot be identified.”
Officials said the case was one of four cold case rapes already solved as a result of the initiative. Three of the cases have been publicly disclosed, while the fourth remains a sealed matter.
Back in August, the DA’s office announced a rape kit taken in 2012 from a 16-year-old sexual assault victim led to the indictment of a 28-year-old suspect from New Bedford.
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