Watsonville police arrested a man Monday on suspicion of raping a 56-year-old woman in the city a year ago.Rene Hernandez, 26, was arrested outside of his home Monday for the alleged crime in the area of East Lake and Wagner avenues on the night of Feb. 11, 2009. The victim was on her way home from a friend’s house that night when Hernandez and a friend crossed her path and confronted her, according to police. Hernandez allegedly pulled her down into nearby bushes and sexually assaulted her while the second subject left the area, according to police.The victim was taken to Watsonville Community Hospital. She gave police a detailed description of the suspect but officers were not able to find him.On Aug. 16, Santa Cruz sheriff’s deputies arrested Hernandez for assault with a deadly weapon. He was booked into Santa Cruz County jail and was required to give a DNA sample.The Department of Justice submitted his DNA sample into the Combined DNA Index System to be compared to known DNA samples in the system. When the DNA sample taken from the victim matched the DNA sample taken from Hernandez, Watsonville police detectives were notified.Detectives arrested Hernandez outside of his home a couple of blocks away from where the crime had occurred. He is being held at the Santa Cruz County jail on charges of kidnapping to commit rape, robbery, assault with intent to commit rape, false imprisonment and assault, according to police.Hernandez’s criminal history includes vehicle code and alcohol violations, battery on a police officer,resisting arrest and assault with a deadly weapon, according to police. Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has any information about the sexual assault to call the Police Department’s tip line at (831) 728-3544 or the investigations bureau at (831) 768-3350.
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