Residents were alarmed last summer by a rash of thefts, trespasses and burglaries in Stonegate, a neighborhood in Douglas County.
Fear turned to panic in July after an intruder reportedly climbed into a second- story window and groped an 8-year-old girl in her bed.
A sicko was on the loose and pressure was on to catch him.
Now that’s a problem. But don’t worry, where there’s a child molestation case, the cops won’t stop until they have their man, or at least a man.
A week later, Sheriff David Weaver announced that his office had made an arrest.
What Weaver didn’t say is that the suspect, Tyler Sanchez, a thin 19-year-old redhead, looks nothing like the 40ish, stockier, brown-haired intruder described by the victim.
What the sheriff left out is that Sanchez has serious cognitive delays.
What the news release failed to mention was that investigators’ only evidence against him is a short statement that seems to repeat what Sanchez was told about the crime during 17 hours of interrogation by detectives who didn’t seem to catch that he’s mentally disabled and hearing impaired.
Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound too kosher. It turns out the guy gave a confession, but his lawyer says that the confession didn’t include anything not revealed by the police, a classic example of a coerced confession. So we have someone who doesn’t match the description, is mentally handicapped, and probably gave a coerced confession.
Well, at least there’s DNA evidence! That will put him away!
Records show underwear the victim says her molester yanked to her knees bears the DNA of two other people: her father and an unknown male. Neither of the genetic profiles match Sanchez. The young man who continues to be charged is excluded from the only piece of physical evidence that would tie him to the assault.
Oh. So, the DNA doesn’t match the suspect either. (But it matches the father? Hrm.) Well, it shouldn’t be a problem, right? DNA doesn’t match, description doesn’t match, confession looks fishy. Time to let the guy go and look for the real dirtbag, right?
District Attorney Carol Chambers’ office should have dropped the case when the state released its DNA report in November. Instead, the 18th Judicial District official keeps pressing charges because she says the results don’t prove anything.
“With the low-cut jeans that girls wear, she could have picked up anyone’s DNA off any surface her panties touched while they may have been riding up above her pants. I hate those low-cut pants,” Chambers said Friday, swear to God.
“Depending on how long she had been wearing those panties and where, they could have rubbed up against the back of her chair at school, a restaurant, the couch at home that someone else had been sitting on, a bus seat, someone’s toilet seat if she did not pull them down far enough — there are many ways to get unknown DNA on clothing. Another kid could have snapped the elastic on her underwear — kids do that sort of thing.”