DNA Match Links to Sexual Assault Arrest

October 18, 2007

Los Angeles: Police arrested a 32-year-old man after a DNA sample linked him to a sexual assault incident that happened back in June.

On October 16, 2007, at 8:30 a.m., Fernando Lopez Garcia was taken into custody at a grocery market in the 2900 block of Beverly Glenn Boulevard where he worked as a butcher.

A series of incidents led to the arrest of Garcia, police said.

The first incident took place on June 10, 2007, near an apartment elevator in the 7400 block of Sepulveda Boulevard where Garcia grabbed a woman from behind and sexually assaulted her.

The second incident occurred on July 18, 2007, when police made a traffic stop and arrested Garcia for driving without a driver’s license. During the traffic investigation, officers recognized Garcia’s face from a composite sketch that was released from the June 10th incident and told detectives. Detectives were unable to positively identify Garcia through a photo line up at the time of arrest, but were able to obtain a DNA sample. Garcia was questioned and denied any sexual assault involvement. He was released on a promise to appear in court for driving without a license.

The third incident happened on September 17, 2007, at 4:00 a.m., when a woman flagged down police in the 14800 block of Vanowen Street and reported that Garcia exposed himself to her. Police spotted Garcia as he attempted to flee on his mountain bike. He was apprehended and arrested. Again, investigators were unable to identify Garcia through a photo line-up, but questioned him about his involvement in a series of sexual assaults that occurred throughout the Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks area. Garcia continued to maintain his innocence and denied any involvement. Instead, he pleaded guilty to indecent exposure, and was sentenced to two days in jail and later released on summary probation.

On October 15, 2007, LAPD’s Scientific Investigation Division notified detectives that a DNA sample taken from Garcia back in July matched DNA evidence recovered from a victim of the June 10th sexual assault which led to Garcia’s arrest.

Police believe that there are additional victims out there and are asking anyone with information to call Van Nuys Sexual Assault Detective John Eum at 818-374-0090. After hours and on weekends, please phone the 24-hour Detective Information Desk at 1-877-LAW-FULL (529-3855).

Photos of the suspect are available at Media Relations Section.