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DNA links illegal immigrant to serial rapes

Katie McDevitt, Tribune

He packed his car, withdrew his cash and planned to slip quietly into Mexico. But the escape was cut short Friday morning as Chandler detectives closed in.

Police then arrested the man on suspicion of sexually assaulting five girls and attacking another in the Chandler Rapist crime spree that spanned 18 months, police announced Saturday.

Santana Batiz-Aceves, 39, a twice-deported illegal immigrant with a history of drug charges, was arrested about 11:49 a.m. Friday at his Chandler home near Arizona Avenue and Ray Road. He was booked into Maricopa County’s Fourth Avenue Jail on suspicion of 25 felonies, including kidnapping, child molestation, sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor, aggravated assault, burglary and trespassing.

He is being held without bond.

“From the beginning of this investigation, we have believed that help from our community and good, old-fashioned police work were the most likely avenues to solving this series of crimes,” Chandler police Chief Sherry Kiyler said at a news conference Saturday. “This has turned out to be the case.”

Police said DNA links Batiz-Aceves, a heavy equipment operator, to three of the sexual assaults. Items found in his car and house also link him to the attacks, police said.

Kiyler said the arrest unfolded Friday morning when detectives were working a saturation patrol in the area of the rapes.

A Chandler task force detective spotted a white two-door Toyota Tercel matching a car described in a Nov. 8 home intrusion linked to the Chandler Rapist.

Police followed the car and stopped it about 7 a.m. Friday near North California Street and Ray Road. During the stop, a detective noticed a jacket in the car matching descriptions provided by two victims.

Batiz-Aceves first told detectives his name was Ricardo Ramirez Lopez and that he lived in Casa Grande and was in Chandler for work and to find a friend, Kiyler said. When police asked to swab his cheek for DNA, he refused.

Officers kept a close watch on the man and obtained a court order for his DNA, but when they tried to contact him at his home, they said he was attempting to leave.

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Arizona Contact Info

MCDC of Arizona

State Director
Lucy Garza
Phone 520 559-4095

Tucson Chapter

Chapter Director

Chapter Committee to Be Announced

520 559-4095


Phoenix Chapter

Chapter Director/Media Liaison
Phone:  520-829-3112
Chapter Chairman

To be announced

Lake Havasu Chapter

Chapter Director
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Prescott Chapter

Chapter Director
Mel Oliverson
Phone: 928-445-1930
Email: melosart@hotmail.com

Green Valley Chapter

Chapter Director
To Be Announced

Cochise County Chapter

Chapter Director
Bob Knobloch
Phone: 520-439-0423
Email: knobloch98@msn.com

La Paz County

Chapter Director
Rick Roland
928 916-2055

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