Martin County Sheriff’s Office detectives have arrested 20-year-old Marvin Mendoza in connection to a home invasion and rape of an 82-year-old woman in Stuart.
The sheriff says the arrest was made thanks to a DNA match and there very well could be other victims out there.
According to investigators, on May 12, an 82-year-old woman living in the Hidden Harbor Estates community in Stuart said she was awakened around 3 a.m. to find a masked man in her home.
She said the man sexually assaulted her for about an hour before leaving, allowing her to call police.
A warrant was then issued and the sheriff says over 25 deputies spread out over the area Tuesday night and found Ailon- Mendoza at a WAWA in Stuart and took him into custody.
Mendoza had 4 other previous arrests including one for lewd behavior on a minor and another for battery by strangulation.
Snyder said this appears to be a random crime, which is extremely rare.
“I want to be careful. I don’t want to cause a sense of panic,” Snyder said. “But I think I owe it to the public to be very clear. Crimes like this tend to be repetitive. It’s not normal for somebody to get to this kind of level of offense and just stop, like a one time. So, we’re very, very, very concerned. And everybody in this area they were talking about should also be concerned.”
Snyder said it’s not clear how the suspect got into the home because the victim said she is certain she locked her door, and there are no signs of forced entry.
The sheriff’s office said she suffered multiple bruises during the attack.
Detectives are asking any additional victims to come forward.
“We have every reason to be suspicious That this was not his first time,” said Snyder. “The fact that he was armed, the fact that he got into the house without any sign of forced entry, the fact that he had binding material that he brought with him all speak to the issue that there may be other victims, now that’s not certain. They’re very well could be other victims out there.”