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Oakley police arrest Idaho man in 2002 sexual assault case

PIX Now evening edition 5-21-24
PIX Now evening edition 5-21-24 09:52

Police in Oakley believe they have cracked a more than 20-year-old sexual assault cold case after a man's DNA popped up the national database upon his arrest in Idaho in 2022. 

The case began in April 2002, when a girl with a cognitive disability was out walking her dog near Laurel Road in Oakley. She was approached by a man who got out of his car, pointed a gun at her, and ordered her into the backseat, where he sexually assaulted her at gunpoint.

At some point, the girl was able to escape, and she went to a nearby home for help. Police arrived and an investigation began, including the collection of DNA left behind from the suspect. 

No matches were found until 2022, when a CODIS hit—or Combined DNA Index System—showed up in the national database, which identified a man living in Idaho. 

In coordination with U.S. Marshals, Oakley Police worked with officers in Coeur d'Alene and eventually traveled to Idaho on May 12 to serve a search warrant for the suspect's DNA. 

Oakley detectives headed back to California with the DNA sample and presented it to the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office lab so that it could be compared to the DNA on file in the cold case. They allege it was a direct match. 

On May 16, authorities in Idaho arrested Eric Ferguson, 49, who was resident of Contra Costa County in 2002, according to police. Ferguson was arrested on suspicion of rape of an incompetent person, forcible oral copulation, and kidnapping for the purpose of rape. 

Ferguson remains in custody in Idaho but will be brought to Contra Costa County later this week, according to police.  

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