Suspect in rape of 10-year-old girl was linked to crime by DNA of aborted foetus, court hears

DNA tests on the aborted foetus of a 10-year-old Ohio girl have confirmed her alleged rapist was the father, a court was told.

Gerson Fuentes, 27, was ordered to be held without bond at a hearing in Columbus on Thursday after a judge cited the overwhelming evidence against him and the fact he appeared to be living in the United States illegally.

The case became a lightning rod in the national abortion debate after the girl, who was nine at the time of the alleged rape and has since turned 10, was forced to travel to Indiana for the procedure due to Ohio’s “heartbeat law”, which bans abortions after a heartbeat can be detected at around six weeks.

Mr Fuentes, who is from Guatemala, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape of a minor.

If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison with no chance of parole.

A livestream of the hearing was broadcast by ABC6.

Detective Jeffrey Huhn testified in court that the girl identified Mr Fuentes as the attacker “by crying and nodding”.

Mr Huhn added that the suspect had confessed to Columbus police, and that DNA testing of the aborted foetus confirmed with “99.99 per cent” certainty that he was the biological father.

Mr Huhn said he was unable to find any evidence that Mr Fuentes was in the country legally.

Gerson Fuentes appeared in court in Ohio on Thursday

Columbus detective Jeffrey Huhn testifies during Thursday’s court hearing

Franklin County Judge Julie Lynch denied bond to Gerson Fuentes

“He had no footprint, or digital footprint,” adding he didn’t have any state ID in Ohio or anywhere else.

In denying bond, Franklin County Judge Julie Lynch said that the severity of the penalty and “not having any ties to this community”made Mr Fuentes a substantial flight risk.

Authorities were notified of the girl’s pregnancy in late June, and she travelled to Indiana on 29 June. She had the abortion the next day.

Less than a week earlier, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, triggering Ohio’s “heartbeat law”, which bans abortion after about six weeks.

Detective Huhn testified that the abortion took place six weeks and four days after the sexual assault.

Mr Fuentes is accused of raping the victim on two occasions, once between 1 January and 11 May, and again on 12 May.

After the case was first reported in early July, Republicans and right-wing media personalities claimed it had been “fabricated” by Democrats and the media amid the fallout from Roe v Wade being overturned.

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.