David Mendoza-Sanchez, the man charged in connection with the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl, remains in custody in the El Paso County jail after being picked up on an arrest warrant Wednesday.
According to a report from Nixon Police Chief Mario Hernandez, Mendoza-Sanchez, who was believed to have fled the city after learning of the charge and had been on the run since October of last year, was picked up by El Paso police on a routine traffic stop Wednesday.
On Oct. 3, 2013, Nixon Police Officer Mike Villarreal was investigating a reported physical confrontation involving two 15-year-old female students who attend Nixon-Smiley High School, Hernandez said.
Hernandez said Villarreal obtained several electronic messages via Facebook and text between Mendoza-Sanchez and the victim that the victim and her mother provided as evidence.
In the message it was mentioned that the victim was getting married, which raised some suspicion from Villarreal.
“After talking to the suspect and the victim’s mother, the mother informed Villarreal the victim’s boyfriend was David Mendoza-Sanchez, a 23-year-old Mexican National who lived with them in their Nixon home,” Hernandez said.
The report also said Villarreal knew of Mendoza-Sanchez because he had been cited several times for driving without a license.
On Oct. 7, Villarreal reported the incident to Child Protective Services. The very next day, he saw Mendoza-Sanchez driving a 2007 white Dodge pickup, which was registered to Mendoza-Sanchez and another Nixon man.
Mendoza-Sanchez said he had been dating the victim for over two years and that they had moved in together approximately eight months prior, and that they were planning to get married in November (2013).
During a Spanish-translated interview, Villarreal noticed Mendoza-Sanchez had a “romantic” picture used as a screensaver on his cell phone of him and the victim kissing, but at that time refrained from questioning him about it pending proper notification of his Miranda rights being read to him.
At the time, the alleged victim was 15 years old and the suspect 23.
“According to Texas Penal Code 22.11, the legal age of consent for sexual activity is 17 regardless of parental consent,” Hernandez said. “Being the difference is more than three years, and the subjects are not legally married, an affirmative defense would not apply to this case.”
On Oct. 9, Villarreal arranged for the victim and her mother to meet him at Norma’s House in Gonzales for an interview, during which staff questioned the girl about her involvement in the case in which she had recently been assaulted at school by another student.
The girl said she was going to get married soon and claimed her mother encouraged her to do so. This was because the couple “could get in trouble with the police if they were ever stopped on the street and police discovered the age difference between the couple, hence indicating the mother knew the relationship was against the law,” the report said.
The victim elaborated that she had been involved with Mendoza-Sanchez for two years, and admitted that he had lived with her and had been sleeping in the same bed as her with her mother and stepfather’s consent.
During a Nixon PD interrogation on Oct. 10, Mendoza-Sanchez said he and the victim had had sexual relations before, and confirmed the information the girl had told Norma’s House. He gave Villarreal a written statement and said that he had lied to the girl about his age, saying he was only 21, Hernandez reported.
After collecting photos of the victim from Mendoza-Sanchez’s cell phone and being admitted to by both parties that they had been having sexual relations for two years, Villarreal became confident that felony charges could be brought against Mendoza-Sanchez for sexual assault of a child.
On Oct. 11, Hernandez reported that Villarreal was off work until Oct. 14, and that fellow Officer Tony Frausto assisted by asking that victim undergo a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination at Guadalupe Regional Hospital in Seguin.
During a subsequent interview with the child’s mother, the mother denied any knowledge of or consent to the girl’s sexual activity with Mendoza-Sanchez.
When Villarreal returned to work Oct. 15, he presented a warrant affidavit to Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Darrell Becker, who issued a warrant for Mendoza-Sanchez’s arrest.
However, several attempts to find Mendoza-Sanchez were unsuccessful. Upon checking with the suspect’s employer, Villarreal learned he had stopped reporting to work Oct. 10, leading Villarreal to believe the suspect had fled the city to avoid being arrested.
Mendoza-Sanchez is currently in custody in the El Paso County Jail. Gonzales County Jail staff confirmed he is awaiting extradition to Gonzales County, and that he will most likely be transported within 10 days.