Crime

Victim in 2004 Chandler Rape "Elated" Over California Suspect's Arrest, Cops Say

A woman who was dragged into a Chandler construction site by a stranger and raped in 2004 is "elated" that her attacker has finally been captured, Chandler police say.

As we reported earlier today, the arrest of California transient Santos Basilio O'Dell, 32, came about after his DNA was matched to evidence from the 2004 crime. The victim was 17 at the time, says Chandler Detective David Ramer. She'd decided to walk home from a friend's house at about 11 p.m. one night after plans to go see a movie fell through. "She didn't want to bother her parents" for a ride, Ramer says. The walk was a short one, but took her past the interection of Alma School Road and the Loop 202 freeway, which was still under construction at the time. She reported to authorities that an unknown man grabbed her from behind, dragged her to a spot on the construction site and sexually assaulted her, Ramer says.

Cops put out a media bulletin at the time that included a composite sketch of the suspect, but no leads turned up.

Then, in September, O'Dell's DNA -- which he was forced to give up because of a probation violation -- was matched to evidence from the rape. O'Dell was found living in his car in Orange County, and a Chandler detective helped with the arrest in California.

O'Dell admitted to the Chandler detective that he'd raped the girl, Ramer says.

The suspect is now awaiting extradition to Arizona to stand trial on charges of sexual assault.

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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.