From the Office of the District Attorney/Contra Costa County:
San Pablo Resident Found Guilty of Kidnapping & Attempted Rape; Cold Case DNA Match Helps Solve Case
Martinez, Calif. – Daniel Betancourt Jr. of San Pablo, California was found guilty by a Contra Costa County jury for the kidnapping for rape of Jane Doe. Betancourt Jr. was also found guilty of assault with the intent to commit rape. This cold case with the Richmond Police Department was in part solved due to a DNA match to Betancourt Jr.
The jury trial lasted over three weeks before the Honorable Lewis Davis. Deputy District Attorney Jay Melaas prosecuted the case on behalf of the People. Melaas is a prosecutor assigned to the Family Violence Division where he prosecutes sexual assault crimes. Sentencing for Betancourt Jr. will occur in October. He faces a sentence of eight years to life.
“The victim in this case persevered for many years as this case remain unsolved. This unjust and unprovoked attack left her physically and emotionally harmed. Nonetheless, she remained committed to seeking justice through this trial, and bravely identified and confronted her attacker in court. Fortunately, the jury saw the overwhelming evidence, including the DNA match, to find the defendant guilty,” DDA Melaas said.
On December 15, 2007, the victim was out for a run near the Richmond Plunge heading towards the Ferry Point Tunnel. Before she arrived at the tunnel, Betancourt Jr. came out of the nearby bushes, grabbed her, and dragged her into the bushes. In the process of the attack, Betancourt cut his hand, and blood spilled onto the victim. Fortunately, during the struggle residents heard the commotion and started yelling in the direction of Betancourt Jr. and the victim. Upon hearing the nearby yelling from witnesses, Betancourt Jr. fled the scene.
The blood on the victim’s clothes was tested by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab. The results were preserved and used in Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) due to the defendant registering as a sex offender from a prior criminal conviction. Richmond Police Department collected all of the evidence at the initial crime scene, interviewed all the witnesses and continued to pursue this case and identify the suspect. Once a DNA match was obtained, linking Betancourt to the crime, officers worked diligently to arrest Betancourt and presented the case to our office for prosecution.