The arrest of an alleged sex offender may solve two sexual assault and kidnapping cases in Lubbock. Santos Mendoza Hernandez is jailed in Garza County Monday night, charged with indecency with a child and unlawful restraint.
Lubbock Police arrested the 35-year-old Friday at South Loop 289 and Slide. He's accused of assaulting a 12-year-old girl in Post on July 2nd. He reportedly asked for directions, pulled the girl into his SUV and assaulted her.
Post Residents React to Shocking Indecency With A Child Case
In smaller communities like Post, news can travel fast. However, the shocking news of an indecency with a child case just began to surface among citizens a week and a half later.
Lubbock Police are working with Garza County authorities to find a possible link to the Lubbock cases. In each case, the man approached the girls outside, asked a question and then pulled them into his SUV. And just like the Post case, the suspect was driving a red SUV.
Carlos Leos lives in one of the neighborhoods where two girls were approached by a predator. He says, "it's not like it use to be, now my daughter won't even go outside without us." Carlos has a 10- year-old daughter...the same age as the young girl nearly kidnapped right behind his house. "I told her, they might be nice, but you come and talk to us or tell us, and she knows," Carlos says.
Last December 28th, two girls, ages nine and ten, went to throw away their trash in the alley when they were approached by a Hispanic man in a red SUV. He asked if the girls saw his lost dog. They went to run, but one girl was pulled into the car. Moments later she was able to escape, unharmed, but months later it happened again...just blocks away.
"I am forbidden to take the trash out." Wendi Coats is taking extra precaution with her young sons after a 15-year-old girl was raped on her block. "They don't go out in the yard without telling us," says Wendi.
In March, a Hispanic man in a red SUV approached the girl on 28th and Avenue U and offered her a ride. When she refused, he pulled her into the car, drove to an alley on 34th and Avenue S, and raped her. She escaped through the passenger door. "It's a little freaky, we watch people," says Wendi.
And someone was watching out for Santos Mendoza Hernandez. Lubbock Police arrested him after a witness identified his red SUV, giving parents in both Lubbock neighborhoods a sense of relief that a possible serial rapist might be off the streets. Wendi said, "I'm glad if they got him."
Lubbock Police are still investigating a possible link between the Lubbock and Garza County assaults. If Hernandez is responsible for the two unsolved crimes, he will face charges in Lubbock as well.
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