PALMDALE (CBSLA.com) — Officials believe they have the suspect in at least two sexual assaults against female joggers behind bars.
Detectives from the Sheriff's Department Special Victims Bureau have been investigating a series of sexual assaults of female joggers in the city of Palmdale during the past nine months.
The investigation ended Tuesday with the arrest of suspect Heriberto Romero, a 33-year-old Palmdale man.
Officials said the first reported incident occurred on January 17 around 9:30 p.m. In that incident, a 20-year-old woman was attacked and sexually assaulted by the suspect while she was jogging at Pelona Vista Park in Palmdale. The suspect approached the victim from behind and threw her to the ground. Despite the victim's attempts to fight back, he began to sexually assault her. Officials said the suspect stopped his assault after hearing or seeing someone in the nearby parking lot.
Romero was identified as a suspect in that case but officials said there was insufficient evidence to proceed.
The second incident occurred on September 15 at 5:30 p.m. Officials said a 24-year-old woman was jogging along the California Aqueduct in Palmdale when the suspect, who had been apparently hiding behind bushes, jumped out, threw the victim to the ground, and forcibly held her down. The suspect then sexually assaulted the victim. The victim began to fight back which officials said resulted in the suspect ending his assault and fleeing.
On Tuesday, detectives identified Romero as the suspect in the Sept. 15 assault.
He was arrested and booked at Palmdale Sheriff's Station on charges of kidnapping and assault with the intent to commit rape. He is currently in custody being held on a bail of $1 million.
Detectives believe there may be additional victims.
Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-LASD.
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