According to Redlands Police Spokesman Carl Baker, DNA evidence from the February murder of Silvia Flores-- who was found in an orange grove northwest of the Citrus Plaza shopping center -- has linked a murder suspect to a 2003 kidnap, rape and assault case from San Bernardino.
"DNA evidence recovered from Flores’ remains has been matched to that of an unknown suspect involved in a kidnap, rape and assault in the areas of Highland and San Bernardino in 2003," Baker said in a press release issued Thursday. "Personal property belonging to Flores was also recovered near the area where the 2003 rape and assault occurred."
Since Flores' body was found on Feb. 26, police have pieced together some of her last moments, which included a visit to a gas station at 6th and H streets in San Bernardino shortly before 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25 and a stop at a Jack in the Box in the area of Fifth and D streets just prior to that. Police previously released video footage of the woman at the fast food restaurant-- the last time she was seen alive.
After 10 a.m., the woman was not again seen until her body was found the next day, at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26.
"She last spoke with her friends via text messages and phone calls at about noon [Feb. 25]," Baker said.
It's believed that Flores, 23, was working as a prostitute in San Bernardino when she was killed-- by the same man who had raped a different woman a decade earlier, according to Baker.
"Shortly before midnight on April 19, 2003, the suspect contacted a female victim in the 25000 block of Baseline Avenue in the City of Highland," Baker said. "The victim voluntarily accepted a ride from the suspect who drove her to the 2200 block of West Washington Street in the City of San Bernardino where he forcibly raped the victim."
That woman managed to escape alive, and notified police. Though her attacker was never seen again or identified, authorities were able to recover DNA samples from the victim, according to Baker.
Baker said Thursday that the 2003 DNA samples-- which were entered into the FBI's Combined DNA Index System database (CODIS)-- "...recently were matched to the DNA profile collected from Flores."
After that, Redlands police interviewed the 2003 victim and created a composite sketch of the suspect, which is attached to this report.
Baker also provided the following detailed descriptions:
- The victim described the suspect as a white male in his late 30s to early 40s, 5 feet, 6 inches tall, approximately 250 pounds with black hair and a receding hairline.
- He had light or pale complexion and no visible piercings, scars or tattoos at the time.
- The vehicle used in the 2003 crime is described as a burnt orange or dull orange small car, possibly with only two seats and likely a hatchback, with a black interior.
- The victim from the 2003 kidnapping was assaulted and raped within a short distance of West 7th Street in San Bernardino where police located additional evidence in Flores’ murder, leading detectives to believe the suspect is familiar with that area.
Police ask that anyone who may have information about this crime or the suspect contact them at (909) 798-7688 or (909) 798-7681.
Anonymous tips can be provided by texting 274637 using the keyword “REDTIP.” Certain non-emergency crimes may also be reported online using the Redlands Police Department’s CopLogic reporting system at www.cityofredlands.org/police/report.