Suspect Convicted In 1993 Assault Case Following Review of Rape Kit Backlog
“Every one of these untested sexual assault kits represents a victim who deserves justice,” says Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
A rape kit that has been examined and sealed lies on a desk at the LAPD's crime lab at the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center in Los Angeles. [via Getty Images]
California officials working to process a three-decades backlog of untested sexual assault kits have announced they’ve identified, arrested and convicted a suspect in a 1993 kidnapping, rape and robbery case.
According to an Orange County District Attorney’s Office press release, of the county’s inventoried 6,350 rape kits, 3,704 were found to be previously untested. After a review, the Orange County Crime Lab determined 1,692 were eligible for examination.
One of those kits sent for testing identified known suspect Michael Ray Armijo and definitively linked him to the 28-year-old crime, the OC D.A. said.
On the night of April 4, 1993, a man and woman went out on a date and then parked in front of her Stanton home to talk afterward.
“In the early morning hours, [the assailant] walked up to the vehicle where they were sitting and falsely identified himself as a police officer,” telling the two he was conducting an investigation into sex workers, the district attorney said in the press release. “While holding a gun, the man got into John Doe’s vehicle and he told John Doe to drive to a different location of Stanton where he proceeded to order John Doe out of the vehicle and then sexually assaulted Jane Doe.”
The assailant ordered the male victim back into the car and drove for several hours with the couple held hostage.
“During this time, the man demanded the wallets of Jane and John Doe, taking their credit cards, cash, and their driver’s licenses,” the D.A. said. “He told the couple he knew their addresses from the licenses, and he would kill them if they reported him.”
The man then dropped the pair off on the side of a road and drove off. The victims waved down a passing patrol officer and the woman went to the hospital for a sexual assault examination.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office said as part of their “OC SAFE” program they reviewed the case in 2019 and submitted Jane Doe’s rape kit to the Orange County Crime Laboratory. The lab then uploaded the results to a national database, which identified Armijo, now 52, as the contributor of the foreign DNA.
In February, a jury found Armijo guilty of two felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery and enhancements for personal use of a firearm, the OC D.A. said.
Authorities could not charge Armijo with rape due to the statute of limitations expiring.
Last month, a judge gave Armijo 24 years to life in state prison — the maximum sentence allowed by law.
“Clearing the backlog of sexual assault kits has long been a priority of mine since I was a County supervisor,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. “Every one of these untested sexual assault kits represents a victim who deserves justice and we are doing everything in our power to test every last kit that is capable of being tested. We will never stop fighting for justice for these victims.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available. You can reach the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.4673 or chat online with RAINN.