Volusia teen pulls mask off sex assault suspect, recognizes him from school

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PIERSON, Fla. —

Deputies arrested an 18-year-old man who they said into a teenage girl's home in Pierson, Volusia County, early Monday morning to sexually assault her.

The victim said she was asleep in her bedroom and awoke to an intruder wearing a bandana to conceal his face.

The suspect lifted up the girl's blanket and touched her, and that's when the victim grabbed his arm while calling for her mother, authorities said.

The victim's mother came rushing in to the room, and she and her daughter both tried to restrain the man.

During the struggle, the girl pulled the bandana off the intruder's face and realized that she recognized him as Eduardo Rodriguez, a student at her school, deputies said.

Authorities said the suspect hit both the girl and her mother and tried to climb out the kitchen window to get away, knocking over a table in the process.

The suspect eventually ran out the front door and disappeared into the woods.

Deputies responded to the incident after receiving a frantic 911 call from the victim at 1:20 a.m.

"There's a (expletive) kid in my house and he was in my room, he was trying to touch me," the victim told 911 dispatchers. "When I saw him, he was in my room. I woke up, and I felt something. I felt him looking at me. I woke up, and he was right there."

"Who is the man that's in your house?" the dispatcher asked.

"I know him," the victim said after pulling the bandana off his face.

"OK, you know him?" asked the dispatcher.

"Yes, his name is Eduardo," the victim said. "He's trying to leave. He left already."

About an hour later, a Sheriff's Office K-9 unit found Rodriguez running along the railroad tracks near the intersection of West Third Street in Pierson and took him into custody.

Deputies said he had no shoes or shirt on, and he smelled of alcohol.

At first, Rodriguez said he had been confused and thought he had gone to his own house, claiming the door was locked and so he climbed in through a window, then went to get in bed and thought the girl there was his younger sister.

But authorities said he later changed his story during questioning and admitted going into the victim's house to have sex with her.

He said once inside the victim's bedroom, he pulled back the covers and grabbed her leg.

Rodriguez faces charges of sexual battery, child abuse and burglary involving an assault and battery. He's being held in the Volusia County Branch Jail on $101,000 bond.