Suspect arrested in Tolleson in connection to San Diego sex assaults

Posted at 12:52 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 20:23:28-04

Police have caught a man wanted in connection with two sexual assaults that occurred in University City and Grantville in August.

Jeremiah Williams, 24, was taken into custody Oct. 27 in Tolleson, Ariz., by officers with the Arizona Wanted Violent Offender Task Force who were investigating a tip, San Diego police confirmed in a news release.

Investigators had been searching for him for months. Williams is being held in the Maricopa County Jail and will be extradited to San Diego to faces charges. 

Williams allegedly threatened the victims with a pistol and beat and choked both of them during the crimes that occurred on Aug. 13 and Aug. 14, according to police.

The first of the two assaults occurred on the night of Aug. 13 in the 3900 block of Nobel Drive, near Westfield UTC mall. The perpetrator followed the 28-year-old victim through a parking structure to her apartment, where he knocked her to the ground, pulled a handgun and told her to give him money, police said.

After the woman handed over some cash, the assailant choked her and dragged her into her residence, where he battered and sexually assaulted her before fleeing, authorities said. The woman was admitted to a trauma center for treatment of facial fractures and other injuries.

Three days later, sex crimes detectives were sent to Sharp Memorial Hospital to investigate a belated sex-assault report, Ahearn said. There, they interviewed a 23-year-old patient who described being attacked by an acquaintance at a motel in the 4300 block of Alvarado Canyon Road on the evening of Aug. 14.

The woman told police the assailant, whom she had just met, entered her rented room, throttled her, hit her on the head with a pistol and sexually assaulted her. When she began screaming for help, the man fled.

Detectives subsequently determined that officers responding to the report of the second assault arrived to find the victim gone. Nonetheless, they gathered evidence from the motel room for possible use in case a victim came forward, the captain said.

Police also determined that Williams had been detained on the night of the second crime by California Highway Patrol personnel who happened to be in the area when it was reported and spotted him in a nearby canyon.

Due to the lack of a victim and sketchy information about what had happened at the motel, Williams was let go with a citation for a gun violation, though his pistol was confiscated, police said.

It would be several days before detectives realized that two very similar assaults had occurred that weekend.