UPDATE: Bemidji Police look for additional victims & suspects in sexual assault case
BEMIDJI, Minn. (Valley News Live) - U.S. Border Patrol released new details into the people who were taken by the agency to be processed as illegal immigrants.
Officials with Border Patrol say 12 people were arrested and processed. Two were released and the other ten were transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE/ERO).
Officials with Border Patrol say, all 12 people were men, ranging in age from 18 to 56.
“None of these individuals could be immediately identified as suspects in this case,” the Bemidji Police Department tells Valley News Live. “Any involvement they may have in this case is still actively being investigated.”
The Bemidji Police Department says they continue the sexual assault investigation in conjunction with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
Court documents say, Bemidji Police were called to the Sanford Bemidji Emergency Department around 2:15 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 for a report of sexual assault of a minor.
Documents say the victim was an 11-year-old girl who told investigators she had been sexually assaulted at a Bemidji home. The victim told investigators she was with a woman, who was drunk and wanted to go to a party.
The victim said they got into a man’s car, they put a bag over her head and drove to a home. Bemidji Police later determined the sexual assault happened at 1821 America Court NW in Bemidji.
Court records say at the home, the woman forced the 11-year-old to drink alcohol. They say the victim was then tied up in a room, with two other young girls tied up on either side of her. The victim says there were four men present, who took turns raping the girls.
Documents say later, one of the girls who was raped was in a closet, while the other was bloody and unconscious. One of the girls helped untie the victim, allowing her to escape. The victim says a man grabbed the other girl and threw her down the stairs.
Later that week, law enforcement executed a search warrant at 1821 America Court NW in Bemidji and identified Oscar Ernesto Luna, 22, as a suspect. Court documents say, a search warrant there turned up evidence of sexual assault.
Luna is in the Beltrami County Jail on one count of 1st degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. If convicted of the crime, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
During the continued search of the area, Bemidji Police say one of the females described by the 11-year-old victim was located. Police say she is an adult and did not report being assaulted. The woman also said she was not aware of a third victim.
Bemidji Police Detectives did not find a third victim still in the home, but continue to investigate the possibility of a third victim.
With the assistance of the Minnesota BCA Crime Scene Team, the house at 1821 America Court was processed for more than 8 hours in an attempt to locate any evidence in this case.
“Since this incident was first reported, Bemidji Police Detectives and Agents from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension have been diligently investigating this case to ensure there are no other victims and that those responsible are arrested. This incident does appear to be isolated,” Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin said.
“As the investigation continues, the Bemidji Police Department asks that everyone recognize the trauma and respect the privacy of the juvenile in this case. The Bemidji Police Department is collaborating with numerous agencies across this state with the steadfast focus of solving this case and keeping all of our communities’ children safe,” said Mastin.
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Bemidji Police Department at 218-333-9111
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