Cargo airline pilot arrested in Alaska on suspicion of 3 sex crimes by Aliso Viejo; suspect linked to other incidents
An Army veteran who worked as a cargo airline pilot has been arrested in Alaska on charges of kidnapping and sexually assaulting three women in a park in Aliso Viejo, authorities said Monday.
The suspect has also been linked to other crimes in Riverside and San Diego counties, and authorities believe he may have victimized others.
Robert Daniel Yucas, 51, of Cathedral City, was arrested on September 16 in Anchorage after a flight home from China, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He was identified using DNA evidence collected during two crimes committed in Aliso Viejo.
The first known incident in Orange County happened on January 20, 2020, when a 22-year-old woman was skateboarding in Woodfield Park. Yucas would have stopped the victim and asked him for directions. He then allegedly assaulted her, dragged her into nearby bushes and sexually assaulted her, Sheriff Don Barnes said at a press conference on Monday. Authorities were able to collect DNA evidence of the incident, but could not find a match in a national database.
The second incident happened on April 20, 2020, when a 32-year-old woman was running along a trail in the park when she was attacked. The victim was able to repel her attacker and DNA evidence was obtained.
The third incident happened on August 28, 2021, as a 41-year-old woman was walking in the park. The suspect allegedly placed the victim in a strangulation, dragged her to a nearby bush and attempted to sexually assault her. She passed out and woke up in the bushes next to the walking path with her pants down, officials said.
Authorities had previously provided information on the crimes as well as a sketch of the attacker, to no avail.
During the investigation, detectives obtained anonymous information about a September 4 incident in San Diego that ultimately led to DNA evidence that matched the Orange County bombing suspect. Investigators then found another case in Riverside County that matched the DNA sample. With this evidence, detectives were able to identify Yucas as their suspect, officials said.
Yucas awaits his extradition to Alaska. He was charged with three counts of kidnapping for a sexual offense, one count of forced rape, one count of attempted rape and three counts of assault with intent to commit a sexual offense, according to the office. from the Orange County District Attorney. He faces 39 years to life plus six years in prison if convicted on all counts.
“These women endured unimaginable horror at the hands of a stranger who hunted them like prey,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.
Yucas worked for Kalitta Air and lived in Aliso Viejo before moving to Cathedral City. He is also known to spend time in San Diego County, officials said. They’re asking anyone with additional information about Yucas or anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of him to call the Sheriff’s Department’s Sexual Assault Unit at 714-647-7419.
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