Hollywood: On December 26, 2001, a 25 year-old female Caucasian was at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, Hollywood. The victim was working as a prostitute when a male pulled up in a full size maroon pick-up. The victim entered the vehicle and the suspect produced a handgun. The victim’s hands were bound, and she was transported to a location in Ventura County where she was sexually assaulted and released. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department conducted the preliminary investigation and forwarded the reports to the Los Angeles Police Department.
On January 7, 2002, Robbery-Homicide Division (RHD), Rape Special Section (RSS), was notified of the assault and assumed investigative responsibility for the case.
Between January 9th and 25th of 2002, there were three additional, and separate, sexual assaults with similar modus operandi. The suspect in these cases would select his victims who were working as prostitutes on West Sunset Boulevard. The suspect posed as a customer and the victims would get into his vehicle. Once the victims were in the vehicle, the suspect would use several methods to gain control of his victims. The suspect bound the victims’ hands and transported them to locations in Ventura and/or Santa Barbara Counties, where he would sexually assault and release them. The suspect was described as a male, Asian, Caucasian or Hispanic, driving a maroon, black or dark blue full-size pick-up truck. In one of the assaults, the suspect had been driving a white van.
Detectives discovered two similar assaults that occurred in other jurisdictions. One is being investigated by the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the other by the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department.
During the investigation detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery Homicide Division, Rape Special Section, completed several community alerts. The alerts were distributed throughout the area, by Hollywood Area Vice officers, to the prostitutes working on Sunset Boulevard. Detectives from Robbery-Homicide Division worked closely with the Ventura and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Departments.
Robbery-Homicide Division detectives, working alongside Hollywood Area officers formulated strategies to apprehend the suspect. On January 31, 2002 and February 1, 2002, Hollywood Area Vice officers conducted decoy operations on Sunset Boulevard in an effort to apprehend the suspect. Hollywood Area Patrol was also involved in the enforcement activity.
On Friday, February 1, at 11:00 P.M., a Hollywood Area sergeant observed a maroon pick-up truck at Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue. The sergeant pulled up along side the vehicle and observed the driver to match a composite drawing of the rape suspect. The sergeant conducted a traffic stop and requested an additional unit. The sergeant obtained a consent search of the vehicle and located some incriminating evidence in the vehicle. Detectives from Robbery-Homicide Division were also in the Hollywood Area looking for the suspect’s vehicle and responded to the location. The suspect was transported to Hollywood Area station and the truck was impounded. Detectives recovered a substantial amount of incriminating evidence from the truck.
On February 1, 2002, Noel Buchan, a male Filipino, 35 years of age and a resident of Santa Maria, California was taken into custody. On February 5, 2002, the case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration. There were 24 felony counts filed and if convicted the suspect could receive multiple life sentences. Bail was set at 4.7 million dollars.
The combined efforts of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Ventura and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Departments led to the apprehension of the suspect in this case.
Any questions may be directed to Robbery-Homicide Division, Rape Special Section, Detectives John Alviani or Aldolfo Contreras at 818-756-8309.
This press release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer in Charge, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.