07/29/10 — Suspect arrested for rape of elderly woman

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Suspect arrested for rape of elderly woman

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 29, 2010 1:46 PM

A man wanted for the rape of an elderly Mount Olive area woman was arrested Wednesday afternoon just north of Syracuse in upstate New York.

Solid detective work and physical evidence are being cited by Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace for the quick arrest of Romeo Rosinos Villatoro, 32, on two counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault and one count of first-degree burglary.

Duplin County deputies received a call about 3:30 a.m. Sunday that the woman, who is in her 80s, had been the victim of a break-in and rape at her home southeast of Mount Olive.

"They found her pretty bruised up and emotionally distraught," Wallace said earlier this week.

Emergency personnel responded and the woman was treated and released from Duplin General Hospital.

Duplin authorities received news of the suspect's arrest Wednesday afternoon from New York authorities.

Wallace said he should know by later today when Duplin deputies and SBI agents would be able to fly to New York to return Villatoro to North Carolina.

If Villatoro waives extradition that could happen as early as this afternoon or Friday, Wallace said in a telephone interview this morning. If Villatoro fights extradition then it could be next week, he said.

"As quickly as we can get our hands on him we are going to go and get him," Wallace said.

Villatoro, a migrant worker from Guatemala, had worked on the woman's family farm, Wallace said.

He said that Villatoro fled the area either late Sunday or early Monday. It was discovered after the arrest that the suspect has either family or friends in the New York area where he was captured, Wallace said.

Wallace said that his deputies had conducted numerous interviews to develop suspects and that Villatoro had been among them. Physical evidence played a key role, too, he said.

"It boils down to hard detective work, Wallace said. "It was a huge team effort of deputies, SBI and New York State Police. It was a lot of cooperation.

"I am very thankful that we were able to get him off the street. He is a dangerous predator. Anyone who would do that does not deserve to be out. Our thoughts and prayers go the victim and her family. Maybe this will give them and the community some peace of mind."