Sex Abuse Investigation Leads to Two Arrests in Fayette County
By Lee Hermiston, Reporter
FAYETTE COUNTY, Iowa – A Guatemalan man living illegally in Iowa under an assumed identity has been accused of kidnapping and sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.
Police said 23-year-old Rodrigo Sandoval Estrada – who had been living in Ossian as 20-year-old Ramon Marcus Perez – has four more victims in neighboring Winneshiek County.
Fayette County Sheriff Marty Fisher said their investigation began August 1 when officials with the Department of Human Services contacted the sheriff’s office as part of a sexual abuse inquiry that had originated in Winneshiek County.
“DHS knew about one incident and it led to more,” Fisher said. “It was important to get warrants for this person and get him in custody before he disappears or hurts someone else.”
Working with DHS, the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office and the Ossian/Calmar Police Department, investigators were led to Estrada. Fisher said it was during the investigation that authorities learned about the alleged kidnapping and sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl in late June 2013.
According to court documents, Estrada – who works in construction - picked up the girl while she was walking down the street in Waucoma and took her to an apartment. While at the apartment, Estrada sexually abused the girl, the documents state.
Estrada and the girl know each other, Fisher said.
Police found Estrada and his girlfriend, 35-year-old Holly Ann Yonkovic, also of Ossian, in a motel in Strawberry Point on Saturday. They were taken into custody without incident, police said. Yonkovic faces one count of felony child endangerment.
Fisher said that Yonkovic knew Estrada abused the 13-year-old girl, but did not report it.
It didn't take long for news to spread in a small town like Ossian.
"It's really sad,” said Neighbor Karla Kelly. “It's like a gut-wrenching sad but mad kind of day."
When people discovered the names of those behind bars, they said they weren't surprised.
"We knew something was going on like ‘oh my gosh something is finally being done’,” Kelly said.
Neighbors Karla Kelly and Janet Monroe live across the street from where Estrada and Yonkovic reportedly live.
They said they've repeatedly tried to contact authorities about suspicious activity at the house. Now, they worry about the future of Yonkovic's children, and question who those other victims could be.
“Holly had been our neighbor here for three years, and so we got to know the kids and I feel sad and I feel very upset. I feel that this could have been prevented,” Monroe said.
Both Estrada and Yonkovic remain in custody in the Fayette County Jail. Estrada – who was identified by Immigration Customs Enforcement through his fingerprints – is to be charged with first-degree kidnapping, possession of false documents and forgery. He has a $500,000 cash bond and faces a life sentence for the kidnapping charge. Yonkovic has a $20,000 bond and faces up to five years in prison.
Details on the Winneshiek County investigation were not immediately available. Fisher said he did not know any details about the victims there.
“My concern was Perez, or Estrada,” Fisher said, noting he’s changed his identity before. “That both he and Holly could disappear. We wanted to make sure we took them into custody before they got out of the state. They had word we were looking for them.”
The case remains under investigation.
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