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Pilot charged with series of sexual assaults in Orange County

An airline pilot has been arrested and charged in connection with a series of assaults against women along race tracks in Aliso Viejo, authorities said on Monday.

Robert Daniel Yucas, 51, of Cathedral City was arrested last week in multiple attacks that began in January 2020 after DNA from a San Diego arrest was compared to Orange County assaults OC Sheriff Don Barnes said.

Yucas is accused of assaulting a woman who ran on the tracks of Aliso Viejo, another who skateboarded and a third who walked. He suffocated his victims before attempting to sexually assault two, and one of the women was raped, prosecutors said.

Authorities say they suspect Yucas, a U.S. Army reservist and pilot now living in Riverside County, of attacking other women because he lived in the 2017 Aliso Viejo area. to 2019.

“We believe there are additional victims due to the pattern and practice of his predatory behavior,” Barnes said when announcing the arrest, which followed a 20-month investigation involving more than 100 MPs and investigators. “What happened to these women will change their lives forever. “

Barnes said investigators received anonymous intelligence on September 9 regarding an incident in San Diego that led them to Yucas. His DNA was taken on September 4 after being identified as a suspect in another crime.

A quick test matched the DNA from the San Diego case to what was collected from the three victims and their clothing during the Orange County attacks, Barnes said.

Investigators believe Yucas’ first attack took place on January 20, 2020, when a 22-year-old woman was skateboarding near Woodfield Park. A man approached the woman and tried to talk to her before grabbing her, but the woman fought back and screamed until he ran away, Orange County Dist. Atty. said Todd Spitzer.

On April 2, a 32-year-old woman was also grabbed from behind and forced into the bushes near the stream. The woman repeatedly punched her attacker and managed to free herself, authorities said.

Most recently, Yucas is accused of grabbing a 41-year-old woman from behind as she walked alone on August 28 on the Aliso Creek Trail and again dragging her into nearby bushes. The woman woke up to find her pants down around 11 p.m. Her attacker had fled.

“They were all indiscriminately ripped off this trail,” Spitzer said.

Yucas was taken into custody after a plane landed in Anchorage on Thursday. He was flying for Kalitta Airlines, a large cargo carrier, and returning from China, Spitzer said.

He is charged with three counts of kidnapping in the commission of a sexual crime, rape, attempted rape and three counts of assault with intent to commit a sexual offense. If found guilty on all counts, he faces 39 years in prison for life.