Crime

Buckeye Man, 36, Arrested on Suspicion of Raping 14-Year-Old Girl in Park


Police arrested a 36-year-old man yesterday after receiving new evidence in the case of a 14-year-old raped two years ago at a Buckeye park.

Phonesavanh Nakhokkong of Buckeye was taken to jail after voluntarily driving to the Buckeye Police Department to discuss the allegation. Officer J. Kirby wrote in court records that Nakhokkong then confessed having sex with the intoxicated teen after being told that DNA evidence linked him to the victim.

The teenage victim had her two friends had been partying with Nakhokkong and two other adult men on the night of April 26, 2009, and the group went to a park at Yuma and Watson roads to drink some booze they'd bought.

Two days later, she reported to police that Nakhokkong -- whom she knew then only as "Sam" -- had raped her at the park "despite her repeated statements telling him no," records state.


A nurse who conducted a forensic exam told police that the girl's tampon had been jammed and turned sideways deep inside her, indicating that force had been used. DNA samples were collected in the exam.

A year later, Kirby's investigation showed that "Sam" was Nakhokkong. Kirby soon met with the man, who denied having sex with the girl. Under a court order, Nakhokkong submitted a sample of his DNA.

The results came back this week: Nakhokkong's DNA matched that found on the girl, records state.

Though Nakhokkong kept up his denials initially during yesterday's interview with Kirby, the man later changed his story and admitted he'd had sex with the girl while she was drunk, knowing she was under 18. He "also stated he knew it was wrong," cops say.

Police seek charges of sexual assault and sexual abuse.

We left a message this morning for Buckye police spokesman Jared Griffith, but he hasn't called back yet.

Seems like two years is a long time to wait for justice in this case -- but it's finally happening.


 

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.