Bellevue police officers interrupted a rape by an armed intruder Tuesday after the victim’s 8-year-old daughter ran to a neighbor’s apartment and called 911, King County prosecutors say.
Elias Valdez Jr., 42, was charged Thursday with first-degree rape, first-degree burglary and felony harassment, accused of forcing his way into a 35-year-old woman’s apartment, raping and strangling her while threatening her with a metal paint scraper; he is also accused of threatening to rape and kill her daughter if she didn’t comply.
Valdez was arrested at the scene and remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail, jail and court records show.
“The facts of this case are terrifying,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Christian Brown wrote in the charges. “The defendant appears to have stalked the victim in this case prior to unlawfully entering her home.”
“(He) also strangled the victim to near unconsciousness as he violently raped her,” and terrorized her further “by threatening the life of her minor child if she did not adhere to his demands,” Brown wrote.
Brown noted the woman’s daughter witnessed a portion of the attack before racing to a neighbor’s apartment to summon police.
Court records show Valdez has prior convictions for first-degree robbery and a felony drug charge as well as a conviction in California for animal cruelty. He was charged in King County District Court in May, accused of violating a sexual-assault protection order involving a 44-year-old Bellevue woman, the records show.
According to the rape and burglary charges filed Thursday:
A girl called 911 just after 6 p.m. Tuesday and told a police dispatcher that a man she didn’t know had forced his way into the apartment she shares with her mother and had “a knife to kill her mom.”
Bellevue police officers entered the two-story apartment and yelled up the stairs for anyone on the upper level to come down with their hands up.
Moments later, a woman ran down the stairs crying, followed quickly by the man who officers later identified as Valdez.
Police say Valdez claimed the woman was his girlfriend and they planned to marry but he couldn’t tell officers her name and didn’t appear to know it.
The woman, who ran outside and collapsed in the grass, was “extremely hysterical.” She kept asking officers if her daughter was safe and was told the girl was with a neighbor.
The woman told police she had gone to take a nap and sometime later, woke to find a man in her bedroom who she initially thought was the complex’s new maintenance man. He demanded sex and when she said no, he threatened to gag and bind her with duct tape.
She noted the man had an unknown weapon in his hand. The man removed her clothing and raped her with his hands wrapped around her throat.
At some point, the woman’s daughter came upstairs and the intruder threatened to kill the woman if she said anything or if the girl didn’t leave.
The girl later told police that after her mother went upstairs to nap, she heard a knock on the door and saw the doorknob move. The girl thinks the door may have been unlocked, and she described hiding behind the couch as a man entered the apartment and ran upstairs.
The girl heard her mother scream and went upstairs, where she saw her mother lying on her back and a man with a knife crouched over her. She told police she ran outside to get help and a neighbor called 911 for her.
The woman was taken to Overlake hospital, where she underwent a sexual-assault examination. She later told a Bellevue police detective the man told her he “would rape and kill her daughter if she did not cooperate with him” and said she went along with the things he said, including that they would get married, in order to keep her daughter safe, the charges say.
She also told the detective that a few days earlier, a man who appeared to be homeless was outside her apartment and asked her for some garbage bags. She didn’t know if it was the same man who attacked her, but said at the time, the man frightened her and so she made her daughter go inside and the woman locked the door and closed the blinds.
Police recovered a metal paint scraper and a suitcase with duct tape inside from the scene; officers also found duct tape in Valdez’s pocket.
Police say Valdez later told a detective he had seen the woman at the grocery store and walking around the neighborhood, and he confirmed he was the man who had been outside her apartment days earlier, the charges say.
According to police, Valdez said he knew the woman was a single mother and he took a bus to her apartment after working up the courage to talk to her about their future together, say the charges.
The charges quote him as telling the detective, “We’re like a little family now.”