DNA evidence helped connect a San Pablo man to a horrific incident in December 2013 during which a victim was repeatedly raped and then robbed along the Richmond Greenway near the the Interstate Highway 80 tunnel, police said Friday.
Julio Rodriguez, 31, is being held to answer on $1 million bail following allegations that he repeatedly raped the victim after approaching her from behind with a knife, police said.
The victim was on her way to her friend’s house, according to police, when the suspect approached her from behind in the tunnel, pressed the knife against her body and then forced her into a ditch and repeatedly sexually assaulted her, police said.
He briefly stopped when startled by noise in the area, but then forced the victim up a small hill along the path to a secluded area, where the assaults continued.
Before allowing her to leave, he robbed her of her backpack and cell phone, police said.
The victim made it the rest of the way to her friend’s house, explained what had occurred and was taken to the hospital, where she was treated and where evidence was collected. At the time, there were no leads in the case, police said. But Rodriguez was later locked up for an unrelated assault and a DNA sample was taken.
“Once the DNA samples matched, RPD’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit (DVSU) detectives were contacted,” police said in a statement. “The DVSU detectives obtained a warrant to retrieve new DNA sample from Rodriguez for confirmation. The new DNA sample was again sent to the lab for comparison with DNA evidence sample collected in 2013. The DNA samples were a perfect match.”
Rodriguez now faces numerous sexual assault charges.