24-year-old Fernando Valdovinos was charged with attempted murder for the beating and sexual assault of a 75-year-old homeless woman.
The beating occurred on May 30 in the parking lot of a Tustin church. After assaulting her, Valdovinos dragged the woman into a set of bushes near the church and stole her car.
According to Tustin Police Department Lt. Andrew Birozy, the woman was discovered over 14 hours later, still unconscious and partly naked.
In a written statement, Barozy said that Valdovinos had used his hands to repeatedly strike the woman in the face, sexually assaulting her afterward.
“The depravity with which this heinous attack was carried out demonstrates just how vulnerable the homeless population — and especially homeless women — is to violence,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a press release.
The woman is being treated for skull fractures and bleeding in her brain in an intensive care unit.
Tustin police caught Valdovinos when he was seen driving the woman’s car, accompanied by another man and a 16-year-old girl.
All occupants of the car were taken into custody. The other male passenger was released when it was determined that he was not involved in the assault. The girl, who was on formal probation for robbery, was arrested on suspicion of carjacking and conspiracy but is not suspected to be involved in the assault. She was booked into the Orange County Juvenile Hall.
Valdovinos faces a multitude of felony counts, including one of attempted murder, sexual penetration by foreign object and force, attempted forcible rape and carjacking. He was also charged with felony enhancements of causing great bodily injury on an elder, attempted premeditated murder and inflicting great bodily injury during the commission of certain sex offenses.
If convicted on all counts, Valdovinos faces a lifetime in prison.
“The Orange County District Attorney’s office is committed to getting justice for this woman who shouldn’t have been living on the streets and couldn’t fend for herself,” Spitzer said. “No one should be forced to endure that kind of viciousness.”
Alessandra Arif is a Staff Writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.