ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — St. Paul police say authorities have taken a 19-year-old into custody in connection with the sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl at a bus stop that happened nearly six years ago. The suspect would have been 13 at the time.
The incident happened May 2, 2016 on the corner of Park Street and Cook Avenue. Investigators said they believed the suspect took the girl from her bus stop as she was waiting alone, took her to another unknown location and assaulted her.
A bus driver found the girl, badly bloodied and naked from the waist down. A medical examination determined she had been sexually assaulted.
“She told us it was a older boy, African-American, wearing a blue top and blue pants which we believe were blue jeans,” Sgt. Jeremiah Mcquay said at the time of the incident.
Police say that DNA evidence allowed them to make an arrest in the case.
“This case is an example of why we never give up or stop working on behalf of victims,” St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said. “I am beyond grateful for the exhaustive investigative work by dozens and dozens of dedicated law enforcement professionals who kept working and working and working. They poured their hearts and souls into the case, carried its weight in their minds, on their backs and in their hearts for 2,166 days — and persevered.”
The suspect, now 19, was arrested by the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Marshals and FBI in Cahokia Heights, Illinois this Monday. Police say he later confessed to the crime, and is awaiting extradition from the St. Clair County Jail.
He was not identified by name because he was 13 when the crime was committed.
A delinquency petition has been filed by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, including one count of kidnapping and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. A delinquency petition would allow the court to order a lifetime registration as a sex offender.
“We are grateful for the diligent work of the Saint Paul Police Department for pursuing every lead, including the DNA evidence that led to this individual,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said. “I especially want to call out the work of my staff attorneys who worked closely with police investigators every step of the way and were able to bring forward the delinquency petition to seek accountability to the fullest extent of the law, and closure for our victim and community.”