Charges: Woman bludgeoned, raped at Burien apartment complex
BURIEN, Wash. - A 19-year-old woman was bludgeoned and sexually assaulted in the gym of her Burien apartment complex last month, causing serious injuries to her face and head.
The 23-year-old man charged with her assault is also said to have grabbed a teenage girl's buttocks and stared at girls at the pool shortly before the attack.
Salvador Diaz-Garcia is charged with second-degree assault, second-degree rape and third-degree child molestation for the acts that occurred June 25.
The assaults happened at two neighboring apartment complexes: The Maple Pointe apartments, where Diaz-Garcia lived, and the adjacent Discovery Landing apartments, where the 19-year-old woman lived. Both are located in the 15400 block of Des Moines Memorial Drive.
The woman's mother called police about 10 p.m. that night, reporting that her daughter came home with a bloody head, missing teeth and wearing only a tank top. A deputy from the King County Sheriff's Office responded and found the woman had "obvious extensive injuries" to her head. Her right ear was "torn and dangling," her front teeth were missing or damaged, her upper lip torn and her head covered in cuts, according to the incident report. She was unable to talk, appeared confused, and stumbled about the living room, using the wall to stand, her mother said.
She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and received stitches in her lips, forehead and ear. She also had chipped front teeth and a black eye. Other injuries included a broken jaw and broken nose. A red mark consistent with a strangulation injury appeared on her neck.
The woman reported that a man followed her home after she disembarked a bus and headed to her building's gym. The man claimed he lived at the apartment complex and asked to be let inside, reports say. He gave her an apartment number and she allowed him inside, though she remembered he had grabbed her buttocks a month earlier, at which time she ran away. She had never spoken to him before.
While using the treadmill, she asked him not to stand behind her, according to the incident report. She also recalled him talking on the phone to someone, telling someone he was afraid of her. She said she remembered going to leave, and the next thing she remembered was waking up at Harborview.
Detectives went to the apartment complex's gym to find blood all over the front of the treadmill, on the neighboring elliptical machine, on the carpet, on the walls and on the windows, reports indicate. A kettlebell covered in blood was found on the treadmill and a larger kettlebell on a rack also had blood. Detectives believe the victim suffered injuries consistent with being hit by a kettlebell, according to the King County Sheriff's Office.
A witness told a detective about spotting a man fitting the attacker's description who was watching girls at the adjacent Maple Pointe apartments about 40 minutes before the assault at Discovery Landing. The witness shot video of him and called 911, but the witness and suspect were gone before deputies arrived.
However, surveillance footage recovered from the complex substantiated those claims, showing a man of the assailant's description staring at young girls in the pool area, according to court records. A 12-year-old witness identified Diaz-Garcia in a photo montage.
The Sheriff's Office arrested Diaz-Garcia at his apartment June 29. A search warrant on the apartment yielded pants like those seen in the surveillance footage bearing what appeared to be blood stains. His fiancee told authorities that Diaz-Garcia returned home after the alleged attack sweating, breathing hard and "acting in a way that scared her," reports say. He was evasive about his whereabouts, she claimed.
After learning of the attack, a mother of a 14-year-old girl called police in July about an episode in which her daughter was sexually assaulted within a couple of hours of the alleged rape at the Maple Pointe apartments -- the complex where Diaz-Garcia lived.
The girl was retrieving mail that night when she saw a man matching the description of the attacker standing between two buildings, staring at her. As she headed back to her apartment, the man ran up to her, tapped her on her shoulder, said something using swear words and grabbed her buttocks, according to reports.
The teen yelled and cursed at him and he ran away. She reported the incident to her mother promptly. The mother told the apartment manager about it but didn't call authorities until they returned from a vacation. They learned of the Discovery Landing attack days after the girl was assaulted.
Diaz-Garcia remains jailed on $250,000 bail.