Suspect in 1996 rape arrested after DNA links him to crime, police say

Ruben Chavez, 55, accused of drugging, raping teen girl at Coral Springs hotel

Ruben Chavez, 55, has been arrested in connection with a 1996 rape in Coral Springs.

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Twenty-three years after a 17-year-old girl was drugged and raped in a Coral Springs hotel room, police have arrested a man in connection with the crime.

Ruben Chavez, 55, was arrested Monday on one count of sexual battery of a minor.

Coral Springs police Sgt. Carla Kmiotek said DNA evidence collected from the 1996 incident linked Chavez to the crime. He was arrested in Boca Raton and refused to provide a statement to police.

According to an arrest warrant, the teenage victim was with her friend on the night of Jan. 7, 1996, when they met two other people and went to Mr. Lucky's pool hall in Margate. The victim said she remembered taking three shots before waking up naked in bed -- a used condom next to her -- at a La Quinta Inn in Coral Springs.

Kmiotek said detectives investigated the rape, but there was not enough evidence at the time to positively identify the person responsible.

According to the warrant, after detectives reviewing cold cases earlier this year submitted the evidence to the Broward Sheriff's Office crime laboratory for testing, Chavez's DNA was detected.

Kmiotek said Chavez has a lengthy history of previous arrests on drug and weapons charges.

Chavez was booked into the main Broward County jail, where he was being held without bond.

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