Investigators: DNA links man to rape in 2000
In what may be only the second time a sexual assault suspect in Mesa County has been identified through DNA, investigators linked a Grand Junction man to an assault that occurred nearly nine years ago.
Jorge Hurtado-Ruiz, 30, was in custody Wednesday at the Mesa County Jail on a $500,000 bond. He faces felony charges of first-degree sex assault and kidnapping.
According to an arrest affidavit, investigators with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation connected Hurtado-Ruiz’ DNA to the rape of a then-38-year-old Grand Junction woman during a July 2, 2000, incident.
Hurtado-Ruiz was arrested recently after he was picked up by federal authorities attempting to illegally enter the United States, Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said in court Wednesday.
“This individual has been deported more than once and returned more than once,” Hautzinger told Mesa County Judge Bruce Raaum in arguing for a high bond. “I submit this defendant represents a much higher than normal risk of flight.”
Hurtado-Ruiz, who appeared in court wearing a red jail suit, a color reserved for the most violent offenders, was advised in court of his charges through the assistance of a Spanish language interpreter.
A warrant for Hurtado-Ruiz’ arrest was signed Sept. 21, 2007, but the defendant’s whereabouts were unknown because he was deported months before, in April 2007, the affidavit said.
In the early morning hours of July 2, 2000, a woman was walking home from a party in the area of Colorado Highway 340 and Monument Road when she was approached by a Hispanic man in his 20s who pulled her about a block and a half into a metal shed behind a home in the 600 block of West Colorado Ave. and raped her, the affidavit said.
After she was raped, three other people joined the suspect to lead the woman out of the shed into a waiting vehicle, but the woman was able to break free and run away, the affidavit said. Soon after, the woman was picked up by her roommate, who took her home.
The woman took a shower, then told her roommate about the rape. At about 7 a.m. that day, the affidavit said, the woman went to a hospital and submitted to a sexual assault exam by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, who concluded the woman had been assaulted. The woman told the nurse she had not had consensual sex for about two-and-a-half years before the assault, the affidavit said.
Grand Junction police submitted the woman’s clothing and vaginal and cervical swabs to the CBI for testing. In March 2001, the CBI reported it developed a DNA profile from sperm found on the alleged victim’s vaginal swab, but no matches or leads were discovered at that time. The CBI then periodically performed searches using state and federal databases.
On Sept. 5, 2007, the CBI reported to Grand Junction police that DNA from Hurtado-Ruiz matched the DNA sample collected from the alleged victim. The match was made after Hurtado-Ruiz’ profile appeared in a federal database of convicted felons.
Hurtado-Ruiz also used an alias of Ramon Perea-Lujan.
In another Mesa County case, Rosten Lee Clark, then 34, was sentenced by a judge in 2007 to 32 years to life in prison after his DNA was linked to the rape of a 28-year-old woman during an incident that occurred in her home. In that case, authorities collected Clark’s DNA two years after the rape when he was accused of shooting at a Colorado State Patrol trooper. Investigators matched Clark’s DNA with DNA found on the woman’s clothing.