Police have identified the man they believe raped a juvenile girl in a wooded area of Wheeling Island on Saturday after he became acquainted with her on the Internet.
Wheeling Deputy Police Chief Martin Kimball said the search is on for 24-year-old David Maya of Elkridge, Md., after investigators obtained a warrant for his arrest on four counts of second-degree sexual assault. Kimball described Maya as Hispanic, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds. He was reported to be driving a black 2000 Ford Mustang with tinted windows, possibly a convertible, with Maryland license plates.
Kimball said he believed the U.S. Marshals Service was actively searching for Maya in the Maryland area, and noted his "gut feeling" is that Saturday's alleged attack wasn't an isolated incident.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Police have identified 24-year-old David Maya of Maryland as the suspect in the alleged rape of a juvenile girl in a wooded area near Belle Isle Park on Wheeling Island.
"We believe he is either at home or out victimizing another person," Kimball said. "Something tells me this isn't his first go around. ... Hopefully we'll put a long-term stop to his particular activities."
The victim, who lives in Wheeling, told police she had communicated with the man via both the Internet and text message, and they agreed to meet at the Belle Isle baseball field at the north end of Wheeling Island, near where the assault reportedly occurred. Police were notified several hours later, at about 7 p.m. Saturday.
Kimball said the man and girl met in an Internet chat room. The girl, he said, was pretending to be older than she really is and the man was pretending to be younger.
Kimball declined to give the girl's exact age. Investigators initially believed the suspect was also a juvenile but old enough to drive a vehicle, but further investigation led them to Maya.
Kimball didn't say what specific evidence led to that conclusion.
"Parents have to be parents that's rule No. 1. That means keeping an eye on your kid. ... Know where they're at. Pay attention to what they're doing on the computer," Kimball said.
Anyone with information on the case should call Wheeling police dispatch at 304-234-3661.
Staff Writer Shelley Hanson contributed to this report.