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Suspect arrested in Riverside kidnapping

Authorities arrested a suspect in connection to the abduction of a 9-year-old Riverside girl in early May.

May 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police arrested a suspect in connection to the abduction of a 9-year-old Riverside girl in early May, authorities announced Tuesday.

Jose Wilson Rojas Guzman, 30, of Riverside, is suspected of kidnapping the girl in the middle of the night as she was sleeping in her apartment, then dropping her off in a neighborhood three miles away.

The child was severely injured during the May 7 incident and was taken to the hospital. She has since been released and is recovering from her injuries.

Police say the mother was at work while her three kids, ages 12, 9 and 3, were at home. Guzman allegedly entered through an unsecured window at the apartment on Herman Drive and Pike Street and kidnapped the 9-year-old.

About an hour and a half after she was taken, the girl was found wandering in the streets, knocking on doors and asking for help. She showed signs that she had been assaulted, but police are not saying how. Residents of the homes she knocked on said she appeared to be drugged.

"It's a particularly brutal crime," Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said. "It's all together possible that this individual left the victim for dead. Her injuries were that severe."

Authorities said the mother of the girl had met Guzman in January. She rented a room in her apartment to him and he eventually moved out, but she didn't think anything of it.

Because Guzman lived at the residence, he was detained and questioned by investigators on May 9. Detectives said his mannerisms were not that of an innocent man so he became a person of interest. Guzman's black Ford F-150 was also seen on surveillance video at the time of the crime.

After questioning him, authorities said Guzman was taken into custody and held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for an immigration violation.

Investigators with the Riverside Police Department obtained a search warrant for Guzman's DNA. It was then submitted to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Crime Lab for comparison to DNA found on the girl.

Riverside investigators were told Monday that Guzman's DNA matched the DNA evidence found on the victim.

Investigators said they are still trying to find out where Guzman is currently living.

"We think that the examination of that location will yield further evidence," Diaz said.

Guzman is charged with attempted murder, kidnapping with injury and aggravated child sexual assault, each of which has a potential life sentence.

He is being held on $1 million bail.

Anyone with information on Guzman is urged to call Riverside police at (951) 353-7124.

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