A nationwide arrest warrant has been issued for a 46-year-old man wanted in connection with the violent rape of an Attleboro woman more than 25 years ago.

Eduardo Mendez is now charged with aggravated rape. The defendant is a Guatemalan immigrant, and it is not known if he is still residing in the United States, the Office of District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said on Monday.

On June 9 in 1994 the victim was accosted by three men in Attleboro as she walked near the Pleasant Street Bridge, the DA’s office said in a statement announcing progress in the cold case. The three men forced her into the stairwell of a nearby building and covered her mouth as she attempted to scream. In the stairwell, two of the men held her down while the third violently raped her before fleeing the scene. The victim immediately reported the case to the police, who responded to the area but were unable to identify any suspects. The victim, whose purse was found at the scene, was transported to Sturdy Hospital where she was treated and a sexual assault evidence collection kit was recovered. The victim provided a description of her assailants, noting that the man who had raped her had gold on his teeth. No suspect was identified at the time.

Recently, evidence recovered from the victim was sent to the state crime lab for re-testing. The DNA profile was then uploaded to a national database. That upload revealed a genetic match to Eduardo Mendez. Mendez had lived just a few houses away from where the crime was committed, the DA’s office said. The investigation also revealed that Mendez’s physical appearance, including gold in his teeth, matched that given by the victim.

When contacted about the recent developments, the victim indicated she was relieved to hear the news, stating that even after 26 years she is “still living with it.” She also said that she feels a sense of relief because after so many years had passed, she had lost hope that the case would ever be solved, Quinn’s office reported.

Quinn thanked Attleboro Police Detective Lieutenant Timothy Cook, Jr. and Arthur Brillon of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office’s Special Victims Unit for their work on the case.

"This was an extremely serious and violent assault committed against an innocent victim. This type of case shocks the conscience. I am pleased that the victim now knows her attacker has been identified," Quinn said. "We will continue to utilize modern technology to try to solve these case and bring justice to the victims. Unsolved cases, in particular homicides and sexual assaults, are a top priority for my office."

The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and its Unsolved Unit is working on a number of unsolved homicides and other violent crimes, including rapes, dating back to the 1970s. Prosecutors are working with the recently-created Unresolved Crime Unit of the Massachusetts State Police, led by Lt. Ann-Marie Robertson. The DA’s office recently sought and was awarded $2.2 million in federal grant money to ensure that all untested evidence from old sex assault cases would be tested using the most modern methods.

The warrant charging Mendez with aggravated rape has been entered into the National Crime Information Center so that if he is apprehended anywhere in the U.S., he will be returned to Attleboro to answer the charge. Mendez is at large with a last known address in New York State. Anyone with information about his whereabouts should contact Lt. Ann Marie Robertson at (508) 961-1918 or email Lt. Robertson at AnnMarie.Robertson@state.ma.us

Massachusetts State Police can also be contacted directly at (855) MA-SOLVE (855-627-6583) or by email at mspunresolved@pol.state.ma.us Those who feel more comfortable submitting an anonymous tip can do so via the DA’s text-a-tip program. Just text the word “Bristol” to the phone number CRIMES (274637), then text the tip. People with information can also submit a web-based anonymous tip.

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