Man charged with assaulting 4 women along popular trail in Orange

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A 21-year-old man has been charged in connection with assaulting four women along Santiago Creek Trail in Orange, and authorities are seeking more possible victims, officials announced Friday.

Saul Montiel-Tejada is shown in a photo released by the O.C. District Attorney’s Office on Aug. 14, 2020.

Saul Montiel-Tejada, of Orange, faces one felony count of kidnapping to commit a sexual offense, two felony counts of assault with intent to commit a sexual assault, two felony counts of sexual battery by restraint, and two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

He was taken into custody Wednesday after a series of attacks dating back to last month.

The first incident occurred about 4:10 p.m. July 25. A woman was walking on the trail near Tustin Street and La Veta Avenue when a man grabbed her and pulled her into an alcove, officials said. The woman managed to run away and the man rode off on a bicycle.

About 6:35 p.m. on Aug. 2, a woman was exercising in Grijalva Park when a man walked behind her, grabbed her buttocks and again rode away on a bike, police said shortly after the attack.

Orange Police Department officials on Aug. 4, 2020 released this composite sketch of a man they believe assaulted three women in separate incidents.
Orange Police Department officials on Aug. 4, 2020 released this composite sketch of a man they believe assaulted three women in separate incidents.

Two days later, the Orange Police Department released a sketch of the man wanted in the two assaults.

But on Aug. 9, another woman was walking on North Tustin Avenue Near Cambridge Street when a man grabbed her from behind and started to pull her backwards, officials said. The victim was able to escape and the assailant got away on his bike.

Then, about 7:40 p.m. Wednesday, a woman was walking in the 4700 block of east Walnut Avenue when a man grabbed her buttocks and again rode away on a bike.

The victim called 911 and responding officers found a man matching the assailant’s description near Hewes Street and Center Avenue. He was taken into custody and identified as Montiel-Tejeda.

He appeared in court Friday and pleaded not guilty to all the charges. He remains in custody on $1 million and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged.

“These brazen sexual assaults terrorized our community and had it not been for the tenacious police work to identify and arrest this predator there is little doubt that these attacks would have continued,” O.C. District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.

Anyone with additional information on Montiel-Tejeda or believes they may have been victimized by him can call Detective S. Costa at 714-744-7521.

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