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Man wanted in 2016 Utah kidnapping, rape arrested in Mexico

By Pat Reavy, KSL.com | Posted - May 4, 2021 at 9:53 a.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — A man charged with sexually assaulting a woman he allegedly kidnapped off the street in West Valley City nearly five years ago has been arrested in Mexico.

The U.S. Marshals Service announced Tuesday that agents arrested Edgar Zepeda, 27, in Ameca-Jalisco, Mexico, on April 27. He was flown to San Diego where he is awaiting extradition back to Utah.

Zepeda, who used to live in Kearns, is accused of participating in an attack on a woman on Sept. 17, 2016. The woman was walking in West Valley City when two men got out of a car, grabbed her, covered her eyes, and put her into their car, according to charging documents.

She was taken to an abandoned house and raped, the charges state. But no arrests were ever made in the case.

In 2018, Zepeda was arrested again and a DNA sample was collected. Investigators put that DNA into a database and it matched with a DNA sample collected from the 2016 incident, U.S., Marshals said in a statement Tuesday.

Zepeda was charged for the 2016 incident in October 2019 in 3rd District Court with aggravated kidnapping and four counts of aggravated sexual assault, all first-degree felonies, and a no bail arrest warrant was issued.

The marshals office and their international partners have been working the case heavily for the past 18 months and got a possible lead in February that led agents to Zepeda's location.

"This case illustrates the importance of law enforcement partnerships, both locally and globally, and the tenacity and persistence of our deputy U.S. marshals. After nearly 4 ½ years, due to the tireless efforts of deputy U.S. marshals, a victim can now feel some comfort that justice will finally be served," Matthew D. Harris, head of the U.S. Marshals Service in Utah, said in a prepared statement.

Also in 2019, Zepeda was convicted of theft by receiving stolen property and was placed on probation, according to state court records. A warrant was issued for his arrest in March for failing to comply with the terms of his probation. He was convicted of the same crime in April 2018 and placed on probation.

Zepeda was also arrested for misdemeanor assault in 2016.

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