A 19-year-old man who police say took a 12-year-old girl to his high school prom is wanted in the investigation of rape of a child.
Detectives say the case is disturbing not only because of the sexual assault but also because the man took the young girl to his prom and no one at the dance seemed bothered by it. Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Bedard said Friday he didn't have an explanation as to why not one student or teacher from the school where the prom was held contacted authorities.
"That's a question we just don't have any answers for. It's very alarming for us that you can have a 12-year-old go to a prom with a 19-year-old and nobody notices," he said.
A $75,000 arrest warrant has been issued for Everardo Diaz-Sandoval. Detectives believe the rape happened in April. It was reported in May.
It was unclear Friday whether the rape happened on the same night as the prom. Police did not release the name of the school that held the prom in order to try and protect the identity of the victim.
However, the pictures from prom that the young girl took to her elementary school helped spark a police investigation. Although no one at the high school may have noticed the couple, the young girl's elementary school teacher knew right away from looking at the photos that something wasn't right, Bedard said.
In the prom photos, the girl is seen posing several ways with Diaz-Sandoval, who is wearing a black T-shirt with
red and white lettering. Behind them is a backdrop with red and green hearts, red lips and "I Love You" written several times.
In May, investigators were contacted by the victim's parents, who indicated that their daughter might be having sexual relations with an older man, Bedard said. About the same time that the parents called police, the Division of Child and Family Services received a call from the girl's elementary school from teachers and administrators there who were concerned not only that she was going to a high school prom, but also that her date seemed much older, Bedard said. DCFS launched an investigation, which included contacting police.
An arrest warrant for Diaz-Sandoval was issued on July 25. He has a lot of family in Utah and was believed to still be in the Salt Lake area as of Friday, Bedard said.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call Salt Lake's Tips For Cash hotline at 799-INFO. All calls can remain anonymous. Tips with information leading to an arrest and conviction are eligible for a cash reward.
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