Second suspect jailed in rape inquiry

Authorities say he aided in abduction

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 10, 2013 

— Merced County sheriff's deputies say they've captured a man they suspect was an accomplice in a rape reported in Planada last week.

Feliciano San Agostin, 40, was arrested Wednesday after deputies received a tip from a witness who saw a photograph of suspect Apolinar Cortez in the Merced Sun-Star, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

The witness told deputies he knew San Agostin used to hang out with Cortez. He said he knew the pair were headed -- to Los Angeles -- at the time of the reported rape. Detectives say they believe San Agostin helped Cortez, 48, to drive to the Los Angeles area the evening of Jan. 4 and kidnap the female victim at knife-point.

Authorities say Cortez told the woman, who was one of his relatives, that he'd kill her if she didn't comply with his demands.

Cortez and the accomplice drove back to a converted shack in the 100 block of Topeka Avenue in Planada, officials say. San Agostin left and Cortez then raped the woman, MacKenzie said.

Cortez left the victim inside the shack and went to get breakfast. While Cortez was away, police say, the victim escaped and notified someone who lived nearby. Sheriff's detectives were called, and Cortez was taken into custody after leaving the location where he'd eaten breakfast, MacKenzie said.

Detectives Dwayne Pavelski and Roberto Torres interviewed Cortez, and he confessed to the crime, they said.

After San Agostin was taken into custody, he confessed to helping with the planning and carrying out of the kidnapping, MacKenzie said. San Agostin told detectives he was responsible for keeping lookout during the kidnapping and controlling the victim during the drive to Planada by making threats.

San Agostin was booked at the Merced County Jail on suspicion of conspiracy, kidnapping and making terrorist threats. He remains at the Merced County Jail in lieu of $155,000 bail.

Cortez remains at the jail on suspicion of kidnapping with rape, rape and false imprisonment. He's being held in lieu of $1.17 million bail.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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