Man accused in November DeLand beating, rape arrested, police say

Victim’s clothing found in suspect’s Ford Mustang

DeLAND, Fla. – DeLand police detectives arrested a 48-year-old man this week who they say kidnapped a woman in November then raped and beat her in near a park.

Rodrigo Reyes, 48, was charged with sexual battery (rape) with a deadly weapon and kidnapping in connection with a Nov. 21, 2019 rape case, DeLand police said. He was booked into the Volusia County Jail Tuesday night.

The victim told police she was walking near South Parson Avenue and Beresford Avenue around 8 p.m. when a man forced her into a black Ford Mustang. The location where she was taken is close to Spring Hill Park.

The woman was then driven to a secluded area in DeLand where she was raped and beaten, police said. The victim’s arm was broken in the attack.

After the assault, the victim flagged down someone who called 911. She was wearing only a sweater and her clothes were disheveled from the attack when police arrived, according to authorities.

With the help of tips from the community and detective work DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger said investigators were able to identify Reyes as a suspect and the victim positively identified him as her attacker.

Umberger said at least two other women came forward and said Reyes had picked them up in the same area and battered them. Those women did not file police reports because of their lifestyles, the chief said.

“There are probably lots of victims of crimes out there who don’t want to report it for whatever reason,” Umberger said. “Sometimes people don’t want to be involved in the criminal justice system.”

Other witnesses told police they had seen Reyes driving around the area near the attack as far back as a year prior.

Police said Reyes has a black For Mustang and an article of the victim’s clothing was found inside the car. DNA evidence collected from the victim is with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab and detectives are waiting to confirm if it is a match.

Umberger said Reyes was arrested on Jan. 21 when investigators surveilling him saw driving around in one block from where the rape happened. He told police he was looking for a prostitute.

The 31-year-old rape victim was walking to the store when she was kidnapped on Nov. 21 and is not a prostitute, the chief said.

Reyes was previously arrested in 2014 on charges of soliciting a prostitute and driving without a license.

While Umberger said they have no other open rape cases connected to Reyes it’s possible there could be more victims.

“If there are other victims out there that have been sexually battered by this suspect we’re certainly interested in talking to them,” Umberger said. “We certainly would welcome the op to investigate that and bring any additional charges."

Police are working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to determine Reyes’ citizenship. Umberger said they do not believe Reyes is a U.S. citizen.

Detectives are asking anyone with information to call Det. Ramkissoon at 386-626-7426 or email ramkissoonk@deland.org.

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