Man turns himself in at Purgatory on charges filed after allegedly raping 7-year-old in North Ogden

Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 7, 2015 | File photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man walked into the jail in Washington County on Friday and told corrections staff he was wanted on a warrant out of Provo for first-degree rape of a child and other charges filed in 2nd District Court earlier this month.

Roberto Garcia, 47, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, June 19, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Roberto Garcia, 46, was booked into jail on a $60,000 warrant issued out of Weber County June 3 for three first-degree felony charges, including one count each of rape of a child, sodomy of a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of Garcia’s arrest.

The charges were filed in connection with an investigation that was set in motion in April 2019, when a woman called the Ogden Police Department reporting that her daughter, who was 7 at the time, disclosed that she had been sexually abused by Garcia.

According to charging documents filed with the court, detectives flew to Texas and conducted an interview with the girl, who is now 15. She told police the family would visit Garcia at his home in North Ogden on a regular basis, and during a number of the visits, the suspect would take the child into his room and place a pillow over her face and rape her.

The girl also reported multiple other incidents where the suspect allegedly sexually abused her, telling officers that Garcia would “buy her a pool pass for the North Ogden public pool and would get her McDonald’s Happy Meals,” after the alleged abuse took place, court records indicate.

The abuse reportedly continued for a year starting in 2014.

The child’s mother told detectives that during that same period, she noticed behavior changes in the child. She was acting out and withdrawn, the report states, and the child told her mother she no longer wanted to go to suspect’s home. These statements were also corroborated during subsequent interviews with other family members.

Detectives made multiple attempts to contact the suspect, even arranging to have Garcia respond to questions submitted to his attorney in writing, but Garcia failed to respond to multiple requests during followup calls to the attorney.

Through the course of the investigation, detectives learned of the family’s concerns that Garcia would be deported to Mexico before facing any charges relating to the abuse, which is when the case was filed and a warrant was issued out of 2nd District Court in Ogden for Garcia’s arrest.

On Friday morning, the suspect walked into Purgatory Correctional Facility and told jail staff he was wanted on a warrant issued out of Ogden, and he was subsequently booked on the charges, Washington County Lt. Dave Crouse told St. George News.

The man told corrections officers he was from Las Vegas, Crouse said; however, the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest shows Garcia’s address in North Ogden. Crouse said he didn’t know if Garcia had been living or working in Washington County, but regardless, the lieutenant said he was glad to have Garcia in custody.

“Now that we have him here in the jail,” Crouse said, “Odgen Police will likely come down and get him.”

Until then, the suspect remains in custody in Washington County on $60,000 bail as well as a federal immigration hold, he said.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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