AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — A group of men was arrested Thursday in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl, according to the arrest affidavit and jail records.
The arrest affidavit says the case originated as a runaway child report from Manor, Texas. The victim was reported to the Manor Police Department on Feb. 9.
MPD says multiple people contacted them saying the victim was taken from the Austin Country Flea Market. Additionally, they said the victim was drugged and raped in a separate location.
One of the witnesses who works in the construction industry said they overheard coworkers discussing how they drugged and sexually assaulted the victim. The witness provided police with names of the suspects: Noe Lezcano, 28, Jose Luis Talavera, 30, and Nixon Gonzalez, 26. One other man was named, but KXAN has not confirmed if he has been arrested.
Police say the victim was found on Feb. 11, at a Walmart in Manor at 11923 East U.S. Highway 290. The surveillance footage from the store showed the victim being dropped off at 11:15 a.m. by a suspect driving a black GMC Yukon with paper plates. Investigators searched all GMC’s with paper plates in Travis and Bastrop Counties and discovered Noe Lezcano owned a vehicle similar to the one that dropped off the victim.
In an interview with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, the victim confirmed that she was taken from the flea market. She said she was grabbed blindfolded and taken to an apartment. She told police she was tied to a bed and four men took turns sexually assaulting her. She later said a neighbor and fellow coworker of the suspects came over and assaulted her too, bringing the total number of suspects to five.
The victim said the men told her if she took off the blindfold they would kill her. The victim was able to confirm that the suspects worked together in construction.
While the victim was not able to give a detailed description of the suspects, she was able to describe the apartment she was kept in. She said the apartment was on the second floor and contained exercise equipment and tires inside. She said the apartment also had sheets stapled to the wall and two beds and a TV in the bedroom.
Using the details on the GMC that dropped off the victim, police tracked Lezcano to an apartment complex in southeast Austin. The leasing manager at the complex told investigators that Talavera was the name on the lease for one of their apartments. A worker at the complex told police that while he was changing an air filter in that apartment he saw, exercise equipment, tires and sheets stapled to the wall, confirming the victim’s description.
Police provided the vicitm with a photo lineup. They said she identified photos of Lezcano and Gonzalez as two of the men who raped her.
Police met with Talavera at his apartment and he was taken to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office headquarters for questioning. Investigators say he admitted to have sex with the victim. He also told them he kept her bracelet, which was later found by police.
Talavera, Gonzalez and Lezcano have been arrested and booked into the Travis County Jail. Taravera and Lezcano were charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. Gonzalez was charged with unlawful restraint.
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