By Jackie Stone
Fort Hood Herald
Sgt. Raul Aragonez Jr. was arrested last week by Killeen police for what they believe was his involvement in the Dec. 10 abduction and assault of a 9-year-old girl who was walking to a bus stop.
Aragonez Jr. is a soldier in the 1st Cavalry Division's Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
The 29-year-old was arraigned Friday on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin set his bail at $1 million.
On the morning of Jan. 12, Officer Ramiro Martinez of the Killeen Police Department was on patrol in the area of 14th and Attas streets when he saw the driver of a dark-colored 2008 Scion tC commit a traffic violation shortly after 7 a.m. Police have been searching for a car matching that description in connection with the Dec. 10 abduction.
"It definitely started raising my senses, that I needed to stop this guy," Martinez said Friday.
On further investigation, it was discovered that Aragonez had outstanding warrants for DWI in Travis County, police said Friday.
Officers on the scene identified Aragonez as a potential suspect in the Dec. 10 incident. The victim positively identified Aragonez in a lineup Jan. 12 as the man who assaulted her, according to an arrest report.
On Dec. 10, the mother of the victim reported to police that she heard tires squealing shortly after her daughter left for the bus stop.
Other children at the bus stop told police around 7 a.m. that the victim had been taken by a man in a dark-colored car, the report states.
The girl was found less than an hour later in the middle of the street at Reese Creek and Maxdale roads, near a wooded area.
Since then, Fort Hood's Criminal Investigation Division, the Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers have worked with the Killeen Police Department and other area agencies to investigate the incident.
"I think I can speak for all of us, when I say it gives us a great sense of relief," said Chief Dennis Baldwin after announcing the arrest on Friday. "But it doesn't mean we should let our guard down."
Police said they are also investigating Aragonez's connection with a second, similar abduction and assault on Oct. 18 of an 11-year-old girl who was also walking to the bus stop when she was taken.
Mayor Timothy Hancock and representatives from Killeen Independent School District were on hand at Friday's news conference.
The City Council began efforts to establish a crime task force in the wake of the abductions. Hancock said those efforts are still ongoing, and the Jan. 12 arrest was a credit to Killeen police and other agencies investigating the incident.
"Keep being vigilant, keep working and keep the faith. Our force will make it happen," he said.
Martinez said that in his four years with the department, the investigation in this case involved the most manpower and man hours he has seen.
"Some arrests are sweeter than others," Martinez said. "This is a big arrest, and it will stick with me for the rest of my career."