A man was arrested Monday (Aug. 26) in connection to a 2012 rape case that occurred at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, according to a preliminary report.
Cesar Michael Figueroa, 22, of Springdale was booked into the Washington County Detention Center and now faces a felony rape charge. His bond has been set at $50,000.
Police say Figueroa had been convicted of a crime and placed on probation. Part of the probation required him to submit a DNA sample to the state, which was entered into the Arkansas State Crime Lab's system.
The crime lab notified police on Aug. 19 that an individual matching the profile of the DNA sample taken after the assault had been identified.
"Collecting evidence made all the difference in the world," University of Arkansas Police Department Lt. Gary Crain said. "If that evidence had not been collected and this profile had never been entered into the computer, then this crime may have gone unsolved."
Students were relieved that the man is now in jail.
"His crime was a despicable one," law student Jon Brown said. "So, I`m very glad that they found him, it's one less person we have to worry about being out there."
Figueroa confessed to sexually assaulting a woman in a campus parking lot off of Gregg Street on Sept. 2, according to police.
University police responded to the parking lot just after midnight on Sept. 2. The victim told police a man came up behind her and shoved her to the ground. He held her there, ripped off her underwear and raped her, according to a police report. The suspect then ran off.
Classes resumed on the U of A campus Monday (Aug. 26) University police say extra measures are being taken to keep students safe.
"In that particular area, there have been some improvements in lighting, bushes trimmed back," Crain said. "This was a very unusual crime for this area, we don't have this type of an attack. It really put us on alert and we maintain that vigilant today."
Freshman Lindsey Tharp takes precautions when walking on campus.
"I don`t walk anywhere alone at night," she said. "I`ll try to find one of my friends to go with me if I need to go to the library at 9:55 p.m., before they close."
Crain said that the safety on campus is a community effort and each person has a role to play.
One student said he would help if he saw a questionable situation on campus.
"First and foremost, I`d go to their aid and help them, especially if they`re showing signs of distress," law student Donavon Sawyer said.