A man who fled to Mexico last year after being charged with repeatedly raping a Finley girl was caught Wednesday trying to get back into the United States.
Salvador Lopez-Vidal, 23, was arrested attempting to re-enter illegally at the San Diego, Calif., border crossing, according to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Jerry Hatcher said in a news release that his office was notified of Lopez-Vidal’s arrest by agents with Immigration Customs Enforcement.
A nationwide warrant had been issued in October by Judge Vic VanderSchoor in Benton County Superior Court. The warrant had bail set at $250,000.
Lopez-Vidal now is held in a San Diego County jail awaiting extradition to Washington to stand trial on four counts of first-degree rape of a child and two counts of first-degree child molestation.
The jail’s website shows he was booked at 1:06 p.m. by U.S. Border Patrol.
The grade-school girl, after watching a personal body safety presentation, disclosed Oct. 18 that someone had inappropriately touched her. She was crying and shaking as she named Lopez-Vidal, and told the school official that she had never told anyone, according to court documents.
In a follow-up interview, the girl gave details about each alleged interaction with Lopez-Vidal. She said there were times that he would either place a hand over her mouth while he was raping her, or would give her a sign to be quiet, documents said.
Investigators learned that Lopez-Vidal had talked to a relative in California who said, if he was guilty, he needed to leave for Mexico because he was facing a long prison sentence, documents said.
Lopez-Vidal did not return to work as scheduled once the allegations surfaced. It was earlier believed that he took off to either Sacramento, Calif., or Mexico.