Police have arrested a man in connection with two sexual assault cases and officials are now trying to determine if he could be tied to a third case, authorities said Friday.
Eduardo Alexis Ponce Salgado, 25, is being held without bond on charges which include kidnapping, sexual battery and attempted sexual battery on a minor, online jail records show.
Police said the first incident occurred Nov. 14, when a 12-year-old female victim was approached by Salgado while walking home from school in the area of Northwest 12th Avenue and 33rd Street. The victim told police a man she didn't know approached her and started touching her face and telling her how beautiful she was. He then grabbed her and put his hand over her mouth, dragging her behind an abandoned house where he attempted to assault her, police said.
The girl was able to escape after she punched him in the arm, causing him to get off of her, according to police.
On Jan. 22, police said, Salgado attacked a second victim who was sitting next to a store at 300 NW 12th Ave. The 20-year-old victim told him she was lost and needed help finding the Allapattah Metrorail Station, so he offered to help her.
As they were walking west on 34th Street, police said, Salgado pulled the victim's hooded sweater over her head and pushed her into the backyard of an abandoned house at 1349 NW 34th St. When they were behind the house, he choked the victim while sexually assaulting her, according to police.
"She manages to scream, shout for help and there are witnesses that stand by, they go in and they hold him down until police arrived," said Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Reyes.
Salgado was arrested and denied raping the victim during police questioning, authorities said.
A DNA test then linked him to the Nov. 14 incident, according to police.
Neighbors said Salgado became a father on Friday. He was living in the very area where police say he sought out his victims.
"You don't know who your neighbor is nowadays," said Jesus Rivero, who lives a few houses down from Salgado.
Rivero added, "I think this is going to be more shocking to his wife. And to his nephews and mother ‘cause he lives back there, more people live with him.”
Now officials are running tests to see if Salgado could be linked to a Jan. 1 rape that happened nearby.