A Santa Ana man was charged Friday with molesting five boys since June 2012, according to an Orange County prosecutor.
Edwin Echeverria, 22, of Santa Ana, who was being held in lieu of $1 million bail in Orange County Jail, was scheduled to be arraigned today. Police suspect he molested at least eight boys ages 10 to 14.
Echeverria was charged with 11 counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor and three counts of lewd acts upon a child ages 14 or 15, according to court records.
Echeverria was arrested just after midnight Wednesday after he got off work in Costa Mesa, said Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky, the prosecutor assigned to the case.
Three more boys have been identified as possible victims, but investigators have not yet questioned them, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. Detectives are trying to ascertain if there are more alleged victims, Bertagna said.
Echeverria is accused of luring the boys around the Warwick Square Apartment complex in the 700 block of South Lyon Street since August 2012, Bertagna said. Echeverria would befriend the boys with chips, soda and other snacks, Bertagna added.
The most recent alleged sexual assault was two weeks ago, Bertagna said.
Parents of one of the boys learned of an apparently “inappropriate relationship” with the suspect, prompting them to call police, Bertagna said.
Investigators cannot recall another case of a suspect accused of so many victims in Santa Ana, Bertagna said.
Police ask anyone with information help to the case to call detectives at (714) 245-8542. Anonymous tips may be made by calling Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.
— City News Service