A Massachusetts man accused of abducting an 11-year-old girl on her way home from school is now facing additional charges alleging rape and sexual assault.
Miguel A. Rodriguez, a 24-year-old Springfield resident, was initially charged with kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, and witness intimidation after allegedly abducting the girl on Jan. 15, according to Boston.com. His legal representation entered a not guilty plea on his behalf when he was arraigned the following day, the news site reports. Additional charges were issued Friday, however, with prosecutors adding three counts of aggravated rape of a child with force and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14, MassLive.com reports.
The child in question, whose name is not being released because she is a victim of sexual assault, had disembarked from a school bus and was walking home on Jan. 15 when, at around 1:30 p.m., when a stranger forced her into the back of a car, the Hampden District Attorney’s office previously said.
Massachusetts State Police issued an Amber Alert, and hours later authorities received reports regarding sightings of a vehicle that matched the description of the one driven by the abductor, according to law enforcement. The car was stopped on the Massachusetts Turnpike that evening and Rodriguez was arrested, while the girl was safely recovered, authorities said.
“The biggest factor, I think, in this, was the assistance of the public. The tips coming in were amazing,” Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said, according to NBC Boston. “People were out looking for this car. It was amazing. Civilians spotted this car and helped us out immensely.”
Prior to the prosecutor’ recent filing, it was not known that Rodriguez was suspected of having also sexually assaulted the child after kidnapping her. The details of the case will remain private; the state asked on Friday for the documents elaborating on the new charges against Rodriguez to be kept private, and a judge has agreed to impound the files in question for six months, according to MassLive.com.
During a hearing on Wednesday, a judge ruled that Rodriguez be held without bail, and that he submit to a psychiatric evaluation spanning 20 days, Boston.com reports. He is due to next appear in court on Feb. 11, according to the outlet.
Court documents suggest that Rodriguez has a history of troubling behavior, another NBC Boston report states. His mother called living with him “impossible," and said that she was forced to keep the knives in the house hidden and that her other children locked their doors at night, according to the outlet.
Two family members had also previously gotten restraining orders against him, the outlet reports: his mother, who later asked that the order be lifted due to his changed behavior, and an unnamed relative who alleged that Rodriguez molested her when she was younger and had recently used threats to force her into a sexual encounter, the outlet reports.
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