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Man arrested in connection with 1999 Escondido kidnap, rape case

Escondido police
Posted at 9:56 AM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 12:56:01-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) -- An arrest was made this week in an unsolved sexual assault case from 1999, the Escondido Police Department announced Thursday.

Mark Thompson Hunter, 64, was taken into custody outside of his Hemet home on July 13 after he was identified as the suspect in the kidnapping and rape of a 19-year-old woman in February 1999.

Details on the case, provided by Escondido Police:

“On February 17th, 1999, the Escondido Police Department received a call of a kidnapping and rape. The 19-year-old victim stated she was approached about 8:30 PM at the AM-PM Mini-Mart on Grand Avenue south of Rose Street by a male seeking directions to the Super 7 motel in Escondido.

She agreed to drive her car and let him follow in his vehicle and she would lead him to the location. In the area of Valley Parkway and Fig Street, the suspect motioned for her to pull over at the parking lot at the northwest corner. She approached his vehicle and the suspect then pulled her into his van. She was driven to another location and sexually assaulted.

The suspect then drove her back to her vehicle, released her and fled in his vehicle. At the time of the crime the evidence obtained did not identify a suspect.”

Escondido PD detectives continued to investigate the case and worked with the FBI in an effort to solve the crime.

According to police, DNA from the original crime was resubmitted and led to the identification of Hunter.

On July 8, police said an arrest warrant was issued for Hunter with charges of kidnap for rape, forcible rape, forcible sodomy, and three counts of forcible oral copulation. Police noted, “A separate search warrant was obtained for the search of Hunter’s residence and collection of his DNA.”

Hunter was booked into Vista Detention Facility following his arrest. His arraignment was scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Vista.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner said of the case: “The FBI is proud to have assisted the Escondido Police Department in this important investigation, as we do with many of our law enforcement partners. It is our goal to contribute in any way to help solve these ‘cold’ cases wherein victims and their families have been deprived of justice for so long. It’s been a long time coming, however the successful resolution to this crime of horrible sexual violence demonstrates our commitment to pursuing justice no matter how long it takes.”

Anyone with additional information on this case is asked to contact Escondido Police at 760-839-4722 or Det. Pat Hand 760-839-4985.