The recent kidnapings and sexual assaults of a Monterey Park boy and a Montebello girl--both Asian--are believed by police in both cities to have been committed by the same man, who also is believed to have tried to lure another Asian child into his car.
Composite drawings assembled with the help of the Monterey Park victim and a Montebello resident who saw the attempted kidnaping are "identical," said Lt. Ralph Brown of the Montebello Police Department.
"It's uncanny how similar they are. We believe now that the crimes have been committed by the same person," he said. "We have matching descriptions for similar crimes and the method of operation is the same."
The Monterey Park boy, 9, was sexually assaulted by someone who broke into his home Monday night, kidnaped him, then left him in the Elysian Park area, Brown said.
Boys Home Alone
The boy and his 6-year-old brother had been left alone for an hour while the father worked and the mother went to a meeting, Detective Jim Burks of the Monterey Park Police Department said.
Burks said the boy, who was abducted between 9 and 10 p.m., was found by a security guard at a Goodwill Industries facility at 4 a.m. Tuesday.
The Montebello girl, 6, was taken from a bus bench on the north side of Wilcox Elementary School on Feb. 25 while waiting for an older sister. The girl told police that she was carried away in a zip-up garment bag, according to Montebello police.
She also was sexually assaulted and dropped off in the Silver Lake area, which is near Elysian Park, Brown said.
It was at that same school March 8 that a woman who was driving by became suspicious when she saw a man apparently trying to lure a girl into his car, Brown said.
The man drove off when he saw someone watching him, but the witness provided a good description of him, Brown said.
The child, believed to be about 12 years old, has not been identified because the attempted kidnaping was not reported until after it occurred and the girl had left.
But according to the witness, the girl said she did not know the man, who told her to get in the car.
Investigators said the incidents are believed to be related because of the closely matching physical descriptions, the drop-off area and other "strong indications" about which they would not elaborate.
The victims and witness described the suspect as 20 to 35 years old, as having light brown or "dirty-blondish" hair and as being of medium to thin build.
Although descriptions of the suspect's ethnic origin vary, investigators believe he is a Caucasian with a fair complexion, Detective Dan Hibbard of the Montebello Police Department said.
The Montebello girl described the suspect first as Latino and then as "English," while the witness to the attempted kidnaping described him as Latino, police said. The Monterey Park boy said he was white.
Both the Wilcox student and the witness who saw the attempted kidnaping said the suspect was driving a "dirty-white" vehicle, possibly a Volkswagen bug. The Monterey Park boy said the man was driving an old orange Toyota or other make of station wagon, police said.
Law enforcement agencies in surrounding areas have been alerted, Brown said. People with information regarding the case are asked to call either police department.
The Monterey Park Police Department has also distributed flyers with the composite drawings and descriptions to schools and the media.
In addition, the Crime Prevention Unit of the Montebello Police Department on Tuesday mailed 350 similar flyers to Neighborhood Watch captains.
"The last thing in the world we want to do is send out the message that there is a madman running loose in the community," Brown said. "But we have to caution parents that this is what they have to look out for."