Guilty verdict in kidnapping, rape attempt near Ferry Point Tunnel in 2007

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Guilty verdict in kidnapping, rape attempt near Ferry Point Tunnel in 2007

A 30-year-old San Pablo man was recently found guilty of kidnapping and attempting to rape a jogger near the Richmond Plunge in 2007, after DNA evidence linked him to the crime, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

The incident occurred Dec. 15, 2007, when the victim was out for a run near the Richmond Plunge and was headed towards the Ferry Point Tunnel. Before she arrived at the tunnel, Daniel Betancourt Jr. emerged from nearby bushes, grabbed her, and dragged her into the bushes, prosecutors said.

During the attack, Betancourt cut his hand and his blood spilled onto the victim. During the struggle, residents nearby heard the commotion and started yelling in the direction of Betancourt Jr., who fled the scene, prosecutors said.

The blood on the victim’s clothes was tested in a crime lab. A DNA match was made in 2017, after Betancourt registered as a sex offender following a separate conviction.

“Once a DNA match was obtained, linking Betancourt to the crime, officers worked diligently to arrest Betancourt and presented the case to our office for prosecution,” prosecutors said.

The jury trial lasted over three weeks. Betancourt Jr. is set to be sentenced in October and faces eight years to life in prison.

“The victim in this case persevered for many years as this case remain unsolved,” said Deputy District Attorney Jay Melaas, who prosecuted the case. “This unjust and unprovoked attack left her physically and emotionally harmed. Nonetheless, she remained committed to seeking justice through this trial, and bravely identified and confronted her attacker in court. Fortunately, the jury saw the overwhelming evidence, including the DNA match, to find the defendant guilty.”

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