A child annoyance suspect was arrested Wednesday, one day after authorities said they were seeking suspect information in the cases of three girls and a woman who were touched or grabbed while walking in Orange County.
Christopher Lopez, 30, of Aliso Viejo, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor child molestation or annoyance, O.C. Sheriff’s Sgt. Joses Walehwa said.
Walehwa said investigators are not releasing details on which case or cases Lopez is suspected in, or whether they believe any of the incidents are connected.
“He has been arrested for child annoyance, at this point, that’s the extent of the information we are releasing,” Carrie Braun, a public information officer for the Sheriff’s Department, said in an email.
The incidents, investigated as two child annoyances and two kidnapping attempts, occurred over the past two weeks in Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills, near or on the Aliso Creek hiking trail.
The first involved a 12-year-old girl who said she was touched by a white man in his 30s while she walked to school in Aliso Viejo the morning of Sept. 12. That suspect was described as a white man in his early 30s with blond hair, dressed in black and wearing sunglasses.
Five days later, a 16-year-old girl said she was walking home from school on the trail in Aliso Viejo when a man touched her. That suspect was described as a Latino man in his 30s measuring around 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds with short, black hair.
The following day, Sept. 18, an 11-year-old girl was walking her dog on the same trail in Laguna Hills when a man grabbed her and began to drag her toward some bushes. The victim screamed and was able to free herself, while the man fled, officials say. That suspect was described as a Latino man with short, dark hair wearing a red Los Angeles Angels sweatshirt with blue jeans and black shoes.
Tuesday morning, a 28-year-old woman was walking along the trail in Laguna Hills when a man jogged up behind her, grabbed her by the elbow and pulled her toward him, detectives said. Officials say the woman escaped after head-butting the attacker, and he ran off.
That suspect was described as a white man with medium-length, dark-brown hair measuring about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He was wearing a black sweatshirt with a large, colored logo on the back and jeans with a rip near the seat.
Composite sketches have been released in the initial three cases, but the victim in Tuesday’s incident was unable to see the man’s face since he attacked from behind.
Investigators say they’re continuing to follow up on leads and encouraged the public to remain vigilant.
Anyone with information can contact the Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 855-847-6227 or www.occrimestoppers.org.