Authorities are asking any additional victims to come forward after DNA evidence tied a Riverside County man to the violent sexual assault of a woman walking to work in Diamond Bar last month.
Joel Martinez, 37, of Eastvale, faces felony charges in the case, and investigators fear he could be behind other attacks, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
On Dec. 8, a woman reported she was walking to work when a man with a knife dragged her into bushes and sexually assaulted her around 4:15 a.m. near Brea Canyon Road and Sapphire Lane in Diamond Bar.
The man identified as Martinez first approached the victim to ask to borrow her cellphone. She denied his request, explaining that her pre-paid phone was low on minutes, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Officials say Martinez appeared upset and walked away, while the woman continued heading toward work. But about five minutes later, he allegedly returned and grabbed her from behind.
Martinez is accused of putting the woman in a chokehold and dragging her the length of a football field into large bushes lining the road. There, investigators say he sexually assaulted her while threatening her with a pocket knife.
DNA evidence results led to Martinez being identified as the suspect last Tuesday, and he was arrested the following day at his home in Eastvale.
He’s since been charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, forcible oral copulation and attempted forcible rape by the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, according to sheriff’s officials.
Martinez was being held on $1.2 million bail, and it’s unknown when he may next appear in court, authorities said.
Anyone with information on potential additional victims can contact the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau tip line at 877-710-5273 or email@example.com. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477 or lacrimestoppers.org.