Suspect wanted since 2009 on multiple rape charges in Tuscaloosa captured in Mexico

He is being transported to a Tuscaloosa jail this evening
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 7:06 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2022 at 9:48 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit says a fugitive has been arrested after eluding capture since 2009. The suspect was extradited to Tuscaloosa today to face charges for a series of sexual assaults according to Tuscaloosa VCU.

Captain Jack Kennedy tells us investigators never stopped searching for Hernandez.

“Goes to show the dogged professionalism and stubbornness and hard work of some of the investigators that we have from the all the agencies that are a part of the Violent Crimes Unit. I can’t think of a better example of relentless pursuit of justice that I can in this case,” Captain Kennedy said.

He wants the victims to know, they’ve been working for them this entire time.

“These are obviously horrible, traumatic events and this man will see his day in court. We are prepared to go forward and that is who we are working for,” Captain Kennedy said.

Here is the full news release from the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit:

Between July 2008 and March 2009, an unknown subject committed a series of sexual assaults against University of Alabama students living in an apartment complex on Reed Street, located near University Blvd.

The first incident was reported in July 2008. The suspect, posing as an apartment maintenance worker, was able to enter the victim’s apartment. After the suspect confirmed the victim was alone in the apartment, he sexually assaulted her. The victim was able to describe her attacker as a Hispanic male. Despite extensive investigation, law enforcement was unable to identify the suspect.

In February 2009, two more incidents occurred in the same apartment complex. During the morning of February 24, 2009, the suspect attempted to gain entry into an apartment again pretending to be a maintenance worker. The suspicious victim refused entry and was unharmed. Later that day, the suspect was able to enter a different victim’s apartment. Once inside the apartment, the suspect sexually assaulted the sole female occupant. All victims gave similar descriptions of the suspect attacker.

The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit (then known as the Homicide Unit) launched an extensive investigation, enlisting help from Tuscaloosa Police Department and surrounding law enforcement agencies. The efforts to locate the suspect included releasing suspect’s description, focusing heavy patrols in the campus area, and implementing rapid response to any report of suspicious activity and persons matching the suspect’s description. Invesigators interviewed numerous individuals and collected DNA samples for comparison when appropriate.

A DNA sample from one of the questioned individuals was found to be a match to DNA recovered from the crime scenes. The suspect was identfied as 24-year-old Alexander Velazquez-Hernandez. Exhaustive efforts to locate Velazquez-Hernandez were unsuccessful and it was believed that he may have fled the United States and returned to Mexico. Warrants for the arrest of Velazquez-Hernandez were obtained in June 2009, charging him with two counts of Burglary 1st, Rape 1st, Sodomy 1st, Sexual Abuse 1st, and Atempted Burglary.

In the 13 years since these crimes occurred, the Violent Crimes Unit investigators have kept this case active and open, working relentlessly to take Velazquez-Hernandez into custody. Through the combined efforts of the Violent Crimes Unit, the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs, the international extradition case for this subject remained a priority.

Throughout the years, Violent Crimes Unit investigators developed intelligence on possible locations in Mexico where Velazquez -Hernandez may have been hiding. Each time this information was passed along to our partners in the US Atorney’s Office, the United States Marshal Service, and Mexican law enforcement agencies.

In early 2022, new information was received as to Velazquez- Hernandez’s location. Once again, all the parties involved moved quickly to locate and detain this individual. With the cooperation and efforts of the Mexican Federal Police, Alexander Velazquez-Hernandez was located and detained in Mexico. Legal proceedings were held to verify his identity and grant his extradition to the United States. The Tuscaloosa County District Atorney’s Office worked diligently with the US Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs and was successful in having the extradition granted.

Early this morning, Velazquez-Hernandez was turned over to the custody of the US Marshals and transported to Tuscaloosa County, to be committed to jail, and face trial for his crimes. Because of his flight risk, he is being held without bond.

Two veteran law enforcement officers from Tuscaloosa County who worked on the initial investigation and successfully identified Velazquez-Hernandez, took custody of Velazquez-Hernandez from the US Marshals, and will formally commit him to jail.”

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