On January 7, 2016, 25-year-old Phoenix resident Ruben Castellanos was arrested for charges including Sexual Conduct with a Minor and Furnishing Liquor to a Minor.
In late November of 2015, detectives developed information from an unrelated case involving sexual conduct between an adult male and a 15-year-old girl occurring in the Cordes Lakes area. It was determined the male initiated contact with the victim via social media while lying about his age, claiming he was 18-years-old. He also provided a false name. During the ongoing social media exchange, the male who was later identified as Ruben Castellanos, was able to convince the victim to meet him at an agreed location in the Mayer area. Suspect Castellanos was aware the victim was 15-years-old prior to this meeting. In mid-September of 2015, the suspect drove from Phoenix and met the victim. He transported her to a previously rented hotel room in the area, provided liquor to her and engaged in sexual intercourse. The victim also noted the suspect was armed, but never threatened her.
Without many positive initial leads, detectives began the task of identifying and locating the suspect. Their work included follow-up on social media sites and obtaining evidence from the hotel where the suspect rented a room. After the suspect’s name was discovered, a vehicle registered to the suspect was identified that matched the description provided by the victim along with evidence from hotel video.
Detectives eventually tracked Castellanos to his home in Phoenix on January 7, 2016, and during an interview, he admitted to sexual contact with the victim knowing she was 15-years-old. He was arrested and booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on the indicated charges. Bond has not been set.
LESSON – As shared in prior media reports, YCSO has conducted numerous ‘sting’ operations resulting in the arrest of suspects who intended to have sex with children. Cases like this one are why Sheriff Mascher will continue to make it such operations a priority with the hope of dissuading such activity and keeping our children safe.
PARENTS – The suspect and victim did not know each other until he began communicating with her via social media. This situation could be been even more tragic if the suspect had intentions beyond the circumstances shared here.
THIS IS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO MONITOR YOUR CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES AND IMMEDIATELY QUESTION UNUSUAL ACTIVITY AND ANY CONTACT WITH OTHERWISE UNKNOWN PERSONS.
Around the country, similar situations have resulted in the death of victims after contact with predators.
Please see the following web site for further information - http://www.netsmartz.org/Predators
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov