Suspect Was linked to April Incident
SANTA CRUZ–Authorities announced Thursday that they have linked 46-year-old Aptos Cab Driver Salvador Ceja-Rocha, who was arrested on Easter Sunday on suspicion of sexual assault (See Crimevoice; Aptos Cab Driver Arrested For Sexual Assault) to a 10-year-old violent sexual assault case in Aptos.
In June of this year, criminalists with the Department of Justice notified the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office that there was a DNA hit linking the two cases together. Rocha now stands accused of the sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman that occurred in Aptos in 2004.
In that case, the young woman was walking along McGregor Drive near New Brighton Road when, without warning, a man sexually assaulted and strangled her, and then knocked her down the embankment. When he left the victim was able to climb up the embankment and found a passerby that assisted her in finding help.
During the investigation a sexual assault examination was performed and a DNA sample was collected. The sample was run through the California Department of Justice’s DNA database.
“The database is designed to check DNA from unsolved crimes against samples from known offenders.” Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Lieutenant Craig Wilson wrote in a press release, “Nonetheless, 10-years passed without a DNA match.”
It was not until the April incident that authorities were able to get a match with the outstanding cold case. A sexual exam was performed on Rocha, who was a qualifying candidate due the nature of the crime he committed. It was that sample that produced the hit in the DNA database.
Armed with that evidence authorities arrested Rocha for the cold case. Rocha has been in custody since the April 2014 incident.
“We have notified survivors these cases of the arrest and they have expressed relief that he will no longer be able to harm others.” Lieutenant Wilson wrote, “The Sheriff’s Office hopes that this arrest will provided a sense of closure to the survivors.”