ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County deputies say they’ve identified and arrested a man accused of following a woman to her apartment, forcing his way inside and attempting to sexually assault her.
Deputies responded to the Mercury 3100 Apartments on Nov. 26 in reference to a reported burglary to an occupied residence.
The victim told deputies she was returning from getting food when a man she didn’t know threw her onto a chair, then onto the floor, and attempted to remove her shorts.
According to the sheriff’s office, the victim was able to fight back by kicking at the suspect and screaming for help, at which point her roommate entered the room with a pair of scissors.
That’s when deputies say the suspect stopped attacking the victim and ran from the apartment.
The suspect was described as a white or Hispanic man in his 20s or 30s, approximately 6-feet tall, and weighing approximately 180 to 200 pounds.
The victim later completed a sketch of the suspect, which the sheriff’s office released to the public in an attempt to get him identified.
Deputies reviewed surveillance video, interviewed witnesses, and canvassed the entire complex and were eventually able to identify the suspect’s vehicle.
Research into the registered owner of the vehicle led deputies to 31-year-old Xavier Mendez.
Investigators later learned Mendez had recently pawned several items and provided his phone number. They then analyzed the data from the phone showing that Mendez was in the area of the Mercury 3100 Apartments around the same date and time of the attack, and left the area shortly after it was committed.
Mendez was arrested Wednesday and charged with attempted sexual battery, burglary of a dwelling with assault or battery, and kidnapping. He’s being held on no bond.
Deputies noted that Mendez had charges filed against him with the State Attorney’s Office for a similar incident in 2022.
In that case, the victim told investigators she was attacked in her apartment complex by a man as she was out walking for exercise.
The victim said the suspect attacked her by tackling her from behind then held her down while placing his hands inside her shorts and underwear.
Like the Nov. 26 incident, investigators say the victim screamed for help and the suspect ran away. DNA recovered from the victim’s clothing was later found to belong to Xavier Mendez, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies say that attack occurred about a mile away from the Nov. 26 attack at the Mercury 3100 Apartments.
“We want to thank the survivor in this case,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson said in a statement announcing the arrest. “Her bravery, willingness to cooperate with the investigation and attention to detail helped detectives solve this case.”
Orange County detectives are urging anyone who may have additional information about Mendez to contact Crimeline.
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