The HPOU honored Det. Raul Munoz as its Investigator of the Month for his work resulting in sexual assault charges against the stepbrother of a nonverbal Autistic six-year-old boy.
Munoz got the call last Nov. 28 to investigate an aggravated sexual assault of a child. Patrol officers had informed him that they thought the primary suspect should be the child’s stepfather, whom they had detained for questioning by the detective.
Patrol thought that the stepfather was the suspect because the mother of the complainant observed some black play doughy type substance on the complainant leg, and also on the stepfather’s hand.
Munoz met with the complainant’s mother at Texas Children’s Hospital and obtained her statement. She said her son ran from her other son’s room into her room crying, saying, “It hurts.” The mother checked the complainant, to which she observed there to be red discoloration handprints on the boy’s pelvis area.
Munoz learned in an interview with the youngster that he only said a few words at a time. He also met with the stepfather at the CAC, finding that the man agreed to a buccal swab and adamantly denied assaulting the victim.
The stepfather also took a polygraph, which he passed.
Det. Munoz’ investigation was not over, however.
Munoz met with the complainant’s stepbrother at the CAC for a non-custodial interview. During the interview, the stepbrother was crying and went into surrender mode several times although he denied the allegation that he did anything to his younger stepbrother. Munoz asked for and received a buccal swab.
The detective submitted a LIMS request to compare the DNA of the stepfather and the stepbrother to the sexual assault kit of the complainant.
The young victim completed a Forensic Interview, and an Extended Assessment, to which he did not disclose sexual abuse in either due to him being Autistic and nonverbal.
Det. Munoz knew that this case was going to be difficult due to the complainant being nonverbal and Autistic in addition to there being two possible suspects in the residence during the time of the incident.
The resourceful detective had to think outside the box and use small details to make a case. He knew that he needed to obtain the DNA from both suspects from the very beginning, and that that might be the only evidence that could be used to nail a suspect.
Det. Munoz contacted the stepbrother several times to schedule a polygraph, to which he never answered the phone. If he would have forgotten to obtain buccal swabs on the day of the interview, Munoz would have had no evidence of a sexual assault, and most likely the DA’s office would not accept charges. The case would have been closed due to no disclosure.
When Munoz obtained the DNA report, he found a match. The stepbrother’s DNA matched that found on the victim’s sexual assault kit.
Det. Munoz presented the case and the DA accepted charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child on the stepbrother.
Munoz coordinated with the Northwest Crime Suppression Team II and informed them the suspect had a warrant for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child and his location in Waller. They informed Det. Munoz that they would go to the suspect’s location based on his information that he was there.
The Crime Suppression Team II located and arrested the suspect in Waller and brought him to the CAC for a follow up interview.
Det. Munoz interview the suspect a second time at the CAC in a custodial interview, to which he waived his rights. The suspect stated that he did not know why his DNA was located on the complainant and was crying during the entire interview.
Munoz believes that this investigation brought justice to the complainant and stopped years of sexual abuse by his adult stepbrother.
The suspect took advantage of the complainant because he knew that the younger victim was Autistic and nonverbal and that he would not be able to speak up for himself.
He was wrong.