Foot chase ends in arrest of suspect accused of sexually assaulting 8-year-old on video

Stock image | Photo by Matt Gush/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A local man is being held in jail without bail after police obtained cellphone video Sunday allegedly depicting the sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl.

Juandedios Flores, 24, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Sept. 13, 2020 | Booking photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The arrest stems from an incident that began Sunday morning when officers were dispatched to an apartment complex on East Tabernacle to investigate a reported sex offense.

Officers spoke to one of the tenants who reported that while looking through the suspect’s cellphone, they found a photo and video taken the night before in the apartment. This evidence was later turned over to police.

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, officers viewed the video that showed a sexual act with an 8-year-old girl who was asleep at the time, and then the video skipped to another indecent image that “appeared to be of a young child,” the officer noted.

The video ended when a Snapchat message center screen popped up.

During the interview, officers learned that prior to the call to 911, the suspect was confronted and allegedly admitted to the sexual assault and said he was sorry, and when the reporting party called 911, the suspect fled from the residence on foot.

Officers were able to identify the child in the video as a girl who had been staying at the reporting party’s apartment the night before, as well as the suspect, identified as 23-year-old Juandedios Flores, who was the only person in the home with the same physical characteristics as shown in the video.

Officers scoured the area throughout the day in search of Flores, but were unable to locate him. Hours later, a call into the police department reported that the suspect left a note on the reporting party’s vehicle. The officer wrote in the probable cause statement that the note said Flores “was sorry, he was suicidal and that he would return” later that same day.

Officers remained in the area for more than an hour in an attempt to locate the suspect upon his return; however, before they could, a man approached one of the officers advising of a foot chase taking place around the corner involving Flores and another man.

Police responded to the area of the foot chase and spotted the suspect running through the bushes as he headed north on Tabernacle. He continued into the parking lot of 5th District Court, and as the officers pulled into the parking lot, the suspect “looked directly” at one of the police vehicles before he continued running toward St. George Boulevard.

Flores was cut off in the Swig parking lot when one of the officers pulled directly in front of him, momentarily blocking his path before the officer jumped out and chased the suspect on foot. A perimeter was set up to contain the suspect’s movements, and minutes later Flores was spotted hiding between several parked vehicles.

When officers ordered him to stop, he continued running, and once he reached St. George Boulevard, he ran across until he tripped and fell into the bushes in the median and was taken into custody by police.

Flores was transported to the police station to be interviewed by police. He allegedly denied being in or of having any involvement in the video. However, while being transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility, he allegedly admitted to being drunk at the time of taking the video and to “the sodomy of a child,” the officer noted in the report.

Flores was booked into jail on first-degree felony sodomy of a child and second-degree felony sexual exploitation of a minor. He also faces two misdemeanor counts of failing to stop at command of law enforcement following the pursuit with police.

The suspect is being held without bail, as the court found by “clear and convincing evidence that Juandedios Flores would constitute a substantial danger to any other individual or to the community, or is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court if released on bail,” according to the bail order that was signed by Judge Michael Westfall shortly before 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

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

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