Bay Area/ Oakland/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 22, 2024
Decades-Old Sexual Assault Case in Oakley Cracked, Idaho Man ChargedSource: Google Street View

In a cold case breakthrough, the Oakley Police Department has arrested a suspect in a 22-year-old sexual assault case involving a juvenile. In April 2002, the assault occurred near Laurel Road when a young girl walking her dog was coerced by an armed man into the back seat of his car and forced to perform sexual acts, as per a statement obtained by the City of Oakley.

Despite the passage of time, the Oakley detectives managed to keep the hunt alive to bring the perpetrator to justice. A Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) hit in 2022 gave a major lead, linking a DNA match to a resident of northern Idaho. Oakley Police Detectives Gill and Pistello traveled to Idaho to collect a fresh DNA sample from the suspect, which would conclusively confirm the connection to the crime.

With evidence in hand, a formal complaint was filed on May 16 against 49-year-old Eric Ferguson of Rathdrum, Idaho, who lived in the East Contra Costa County Area in 2002 for rape, kidnapping for rape, and forcible oral copulation. The arrest followed in Idaho with the aid of the United States Marshals Service, Coeur d'Alene Police Department, and Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.

Oakley’s Chief of Police expressed deep appreciation for the multi-agency collaboration, stating, "I am truly in awe of all of the work that was put into this case," recognizing both past and present efforts that finally have yielded powerful results. Ferguson is soon to be extradited back to California. Detectives Gill and Pistello will be tasked with bringing him into the jurisdiction where the crimes were committed. The police department's announcement highlighted the persistence and diligent detective work that went into solving this long-standing investigation.

For those affected by such violent acts, the Oakley Police Department underscored its support by sharing a link to Community Violence Solutions, a local organization providing aid to sexual assault and family violence victims.