Yakima Police have arrested a man wanted for kidnapping and assaulting a 6-year-old Yakima girl in early April. Capt. Jay Seely says officers were called to a home in the 700 blk of N 3rd Street April 6 at about 7:10 pm because of a report of the missing girl.

Police say the child's mother searched for hours before calling police

A news release says the mother told police she had last seen her daughter around 3:00 p.m. Hours later at about 7:45 pm that night an officer found the child walking in the area of the 900 blk of North 4th Street. After talking with the child the officer "realized the child may have been picked up by a stranger and assaulted. The child was taken to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital for an examination. Detectives from the Special Assault Unit were notified and took over the investigation."

Seely says good detective work lead to an arrest this week

Seely says officers searched for the suspect, identified as Juan Joaquin, while talking with neighbors in the area but no arrest was made. Seely says earlier this week, detectives watched security video from a local business and found a car driving erratically in the area where the child was found. Detectives traced that particular vehicle back to the 24-year-old Joaquin who lived in 1200 blk of South 9th Ave. Seely says on Wednesday, April 13 detectives from the Special Assault Unit, Gang Unit and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF) followed the person of interest for most of the morning while he drove around the 400 W. Viola Ave near Hoover Elementary School.

Detectives from the Special Assault Unit, Gang Unit, along with federal agents from The Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) YPD Task Force agents arrested Joaquin as he returned to a home on North 4th Street.

Seely says the case was a top priority to solve for the department

“This case was solved due to the relentless persistence by the Special Assault Unit detectives and the quick response by the Washington State Patrol Criminal Laboratory in Vancouver, WA. This case was our top priority, and as you can see by the overwhelming response from our local, state and federal partners, anytime someone harms a child we will pull every resource available to find them and bring them to justice,” says Captain Jay Seely. The 24-year-old Juan Joaquin is now being held in the Yakima County jail facing charges of Kidnapping and First Degree Child Molestation.

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