It took more than four years and multiple law enforcement agencies, but Philadelphia police finally have custody of a man wanted for rape.
Authorities say Alberto Isaac Navarrette Suarez assaulted a woman at 8th and Race streets in August 2010, and then fled to his native Mexico to dodge prosecution. From there, the FBI worked with Mexican investigators to track and arrest Suarez.
“We hunted him down,” said Edward Hanko, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia division.
The hunt culminated in an arrest on April 19, 2012. But it took more than 32 months to extradite Suarez, a delay police attributed to the relative slowness of Mexico’s judicial system. Suarez was in the U.S. illegally and had been living in Philadelphia for four or five months before committing the alleged crime.
That crime, as police describe it, was horrific.
The victim, aged 22, was walking by the Chinatown subway stop at 8th and Race streets around 9:30 on a Sunday night when “she was approached from behind, grabbed, and [dragged] between a car and the subway station,” said Philadelphia Police Lt. Anthony McFadden. “During that time, she was physically and sexually assaulted. It was a brutal assault, to the point where the victim almost lost [consciousness].”
Based on evidence gathered while investigating the Philly assault, authorities have also charged Suarez with raping a teenage girl in Pittsburgh. That rape occurred about five months before the one here. Suarez, police say, had been living in Pittsburgh with family before he moved to Philadelphia.
Suarez will be held and tried in Philadelphia before authorities prosecute the alleged rape in Pittsburgh, according to McFadden. He said the victim felt “bittersweet” upon hearing of Suarez’s extradition.
“She had four years of trying to get some closure, some relief. Unfortunately the wounds are going to be reopened again,” McFadden said. “But there’s even more closure now that she knows he’s in custody and will never harm anybody again.”