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Man raped, kidnapped woman near Minneapolis's Cedar Lake before stealing her car, charges say

WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of June 11, 2024
WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of June 11, 2024 02:03

NOTE: This story contains graphic details involving sexual assault. 

MINNEAPOLIS — A 31-year-old man faces more than a century in prison for allegedly raping a woman at knifepoint near a Minneapolis lake on Friday, then kidnapping her, forcing her to buy him food and eventually stealing her vehicle.

The Hennepin County Attorney's office says Eliezer Rodriguez, of Minneapolis, is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count each of kidnapping and first-degree carjacking.

According to the criminal complaint, Rodriguez allegedly first attacked the victim near Cedar Lake, dragging her into a wooded area, then choking and threatening to stab her as he sexually assaulted her.

The victim told police Rodriguez then forced her to drive him around before raping her again in a Minneapolis parking ramp, according to the complaint.

Rodriguez is then said to have told the victim to go through an East Lake Street McDonald's drive-thru and buy him a meal.

Eliezer Rodriguez HCSO

Next, Rodriguez allegedly drove to Uptown, pulled out a syringe and told the victim, "he had one more thing to do," the complaint states. As he moved towards the victim with the needle, she escaped the vehicle and ran away. The victim soon received help from a witness as Rodriguez drove off in her vehicle.

The complaint states responding police said the victim was covered in scratches, and she told officers Rodriguez had a tattoo near his left eye.

On Saturday, state troopers spotted the victim's vehicle at a rest stop more than three hours northwest near Fergus Falls. Witnesses told troopers the driver was "acting suspicious at the rest stop, asking people for money or a ride," according to the complaint.

The troopers soon found and arrested Rodriguez. They said he had a tattoo near his left eye, and what appeared to be defensive scratches on his bicep and lower torso, the complaint states.

The victim identified Rodriguez in a photo line-up on Monday, and surveillance video from the East Lake Street McDonald's showed her passenger was wearing pants with a rip near the left knee, similar to the pants he was wearing during his arrest.

Rodriguez's bail was set at $500,000. He faces up to 120 years in prison if convicted.

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