The Sonoma Sheriff’s Office has released more information about Tuesday’s sexual assault and attempted abduction of two students at Altimira Middle School, including the name of the jailed suspect.
Jesse Leon Granado-Lopez, 49, of Sonoma, was arrested within hours of the attacks and remains in jail on felony charges including kidnapping with the intent to commit rape.
The ordeal began at about 8 a.m. with a call from Altimira Middle School reporting that a 14-year-old student had been kidnapped and assaulted while she was walking to school.
Deputies and detectives responded immediately. As they began the investigation, dispatch received a call from a second victim, at about 8:30 a.m., who said a man had just tried to kidnap her.
The suspect was later identified as Jesse Leon Granado-Lopez, of Sonoma. Both victims gave similar descriptions of the suspect and his car, and a major search was undertaken in the area. He was located and arrested without incident at about 9:45 a.m.
“They were able to find him so quickly because of the victims’ cooperation, a rapid response by many deputies, video surveillance of the car, and diligent investigative work,” stated Sheriffs spokesperson Misti D. Wood.
Granado-Lopez was booked on the following six felony charges and is being held without bail: lewd and lascivious acts with a minor using force, kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, oral copulation with a minor using force, sexual penetration of an object with a minor, rape, and attempted kidnapping.
According to Wood’s report, the first victim was walking to school when Granado-Lopez allegedly grabbed her at knifepoint at the intersection of El Dorado Drive and Railroad Avenue. She fought back, but he allegedly forced her into his car, drove her to another location, and sexually assaulted her in the car. He then allegedly drove her to a different location and released her.
The second victim was walking to school when Granado-Lopez allegedly approached her on foot and tried to grab her at the same intersection of El Dorado Drive and Railroad Avenue. His car was parked nearby. She fought and was able to get away and call 911.
Both victims gave similar descriptions of the suspect and his car, leading deputies and detectives to believe the same person committed both crimes. Every available deputy in the area and the entire Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit responded to search for Granado-Lopez and his light brown passenger car.
“This is extremely traumatic for the victims,” Wood said. “They both did the right thing by telling authorities right away and we are grateful for their cooperation. We ask everyone to respect their privacy. If you know them, please support them however you can. We also appreciate the cooperation and swift action by school staff.”