The Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office has closed a 28-year cold case after working to clear a 30-year, countywide backlog of untested sexual assault kits, it said April 14.
“Clearing the backlog of sexual assault kits has long been a priority of mine since I was a county supervisor,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a press release. “Every one of these untested sexual assault kits represents a victim who deserves justice and we are doing everything in our power to test every last kit that is capable of being tested. We will never stop fighting for justice for these victims.”
The case dates back to April 4, 1993, when a couple out on a date where parked in front of the woman’s home in Stanton. A man approached their vehicle and claimed to be a police officer who was investigating prostitution in the area, the OCDA said.
While holding a gun, the man got into the vehicle with the couple and ordered the man to drive to a different part of town, where he sexually assaulted the woman, said the OCDA.
The attacker then drove the couple around for several hours, during which he demanded their wallets and took cash, credit cards, and their driver’s licenses, the OCDA said, adding he threatened to kill the woman if she reported him to the police.
The case went cold until the OCDA received a $1.86 million grant from the National Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI). It used the grant to create the Orange County Sexual Assault Forensic Endeavor (OC SAFE) to inventory thousands of kits that have gone untested for, in some cases, decades.
OC SAFE has inventoried 6,350 sexual assault kits so far, which includes 3,704 kits that were previously untested, according to an OCDA press release. Each untested case was then reviewed for evidence, with the reviews determining that 1,692 kits were eligible to be tested by the Orange County Crime Lab.
One of these kits that had gone untested for 28 years was sent to the crime lab and helped to identify and convict Michael Ray Armijo in the 1993 Stanton assault.
He was convicted by a jury Feb. 18 of two felony counts of kidnap to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm. Armijo could not be charged for rape due to the statute of limitations.
Armijo was sentenced in March for the maximum sentence of 24 years to life in state prison.