Saint Paul police have arrested a 19-year-old man in connection to the sexual assault of a five-year-old girl in 2016.
The suspect’s name is not public because he was 13 years old when the crime occurred. He was located and arrested without incident by the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Marshals and FBI in Cahokia Heights, Illinois, on Monday, April 4.
Investigators with the Saint Paul Police Department’s Sexual Violence Unit then traveled to the St. Clair County Jail, where they interviewed the suspect and collected DNA on Thursday, April, 7. During the interview, the suspect confessed to sexually assaulting the five-year-old girl. He remains in the St. Clair County Jail, awaiting extradition.
The assault happened at about 8:10 a.m. Monday, May 2, 2016. Officers were called to the area of Cook Avenue and Park Street after a bus driver reported finding the female victim crying and bleeding from her face. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was examined and it was determined she’d been sexually assaulted.
In the days, weeks, months and years that followed, teams of investigators from the SPPD, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office worked tirelessly to identify a suspect. Then, on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, investigators received information from the BCA confirming a DNA match with suspect information.
A DNA sample collected in 2016, which had been periodically searched through the National DNA Index System, came back with a profile match. Further investigation led investigators to the suspect.
“This case is an example of why we never give up or stop working on behalf of victims,” said Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell. “I am beyond grateful for the exhaustive investigative work by dozens and dozens of dedicated law enforcement professionals who kept working and working and working. They poured their hearts and souls into the case, carried its weight in their minds, on their backs and in their hearts for 2,166 days—and persevered. Hopefully, justice can be served, and this can be another step towards healing for the little girl and her family.”