On Aug. 16, 2012, the victim showed up at Richmond Police Department on Regatta Boulevard to report that she had just run away from home.
Peixoto told the woman in a joking manner that she didn’t need permission to leave home at age 27. But he said he could tell by her demeanor that something was very wrong, and after taking extra time to speak with the woman the 24-year veteran of the Richmond Police Department uncovered an unimaginable crime.
Peixoto subsequently invited the woman into the police station and gained her trust, which allowed her to open up about the horrific, repeated abuse she suffered while in captivity.
“I don’t think she had socially matured since the day this started happening to her” in 1998, Peixoto said.
Just hours after that interview, the victim’s father, 52-year-old Raul Ochoa, was arrested. Following an investigation, he pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors that forces him to serve at least 85-percent of a 22-year prison sentence. The sentence is long enough, police say, as Ochoa is already in bad health. The agreement also means there will be no trial that could force the victim to testify against her father and relieve the horror.
The case ends years of horrific abuse that was compared to the case of Jaycee Dugard, also held captive for years.
On Tuesday, Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus honored Peixoto for “taking a little extra time” to talk to the victim and find out more about her case. Having that longer conversation, Magnus said, not only freed the woman but also put a vile and dangerous man behind bars.
Ochoa’s daughter said she had been raped repeatedly by her father until a week before she was driven by a relative to the Richmond Police Department. During her captivity, authorities said, the victim wasn’t allowed to attend school, worked in her father’s landscaping business and was often sexually assaulted in a backyard shed.
One time, when Ochoa saw his daughter dancing with a boy at a party, he brought her home, made her undress in the living room and then burnt her dress, authorities said. The victim’s mother and younger sister also lived with Ochoa and were likely too afraid to come forward, Peixoto said.
Richmond police Det. Don Nelson deserves “just as much credit, if not more” for the investigation that led to Ochoa’s arrest, Peixoto added.