DNA evidence help's ID man accused of violently sexually assaulting minor on Santa Ana park bench

DNA evidence has allowed authorities to identify the suspect allegedly behind a violent sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl at a park in Santa Ana, officials said on Wednesday.

Authorities said that DNA evidence led them to identify the suspect as Cornelio Chairez-Velasquez, 37. Investigators said the assault happened after midnight on November 24, 2018.

At the time of the attack, investigators said that the 14-year-old female victim sat on a bench at Cabrillo Park when the suspect sat next to her. The suspect made small talk, which made the victim uncomfortable. As the victim attempted to walk away, the suspect brandished a knife and ordered her back to the bench. Police said that the suspect used physical force and verbal threats to keep the victim on the bench and proceeded to sexually assault her. The victim sustained multiple visible injuries from the assault, according to Santa Ana Police.

Chairez-Velasquez has been in custody since he attacked a woman at a Santa Ana motel in January of 2019. In this case, Chairez-Velasquez attempted to sexually assault a woman before strangling her. Santa Ana Police were called to the scene and arrested Chairez-Velasquez. He was booked for attempt-murder and multiple sexual assault charges.

He was still in custody at the Orange County Jail when he was identified as the suspect in the Cabrillo Park case. Rape and child molest charges were added to his charges and he is currently being held without bail.

Santa Ana Police Department Detectives believe there could be additional victims and ask anyone with information to contact Detective Corporal Maria Lopez at 714-245-8542, mlopez15@santa-ana.org or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.