WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Tewksbury Chief of Police Timothy Sheehan have announced that Christian Cepeda-Ortiz, 22, of Lowell, was arraigned in Lowell District Court today on charges of armed kidnapping with sexual assault, armed robbery, aggravated rape, armed assault with intent to rob, and witness intimidation.
Judge Ellen Caulo scheduled a 58A dangerousness hearing for Monday, August 17.
“The defendant allegedly used online services to target victims,” said District Attorney Marian Ryan. “Anyone who answers online ads should take the same precautions they would for meeting any stranger. The proliferation of websites like Backpage.com has enabled predators to pinpoint potential victims. One of our concerns at this point, is whether others may have suffered similar abuses.”
“I want to emphasize how dangerous posting on these sites like Backpage.com can be. Unfortunately many people underestimate the risks that are involved. I am very proud of the work done by the Tewksbury officers involved in this case,” said Chief Sheehan.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 8, Tewksbury Police responded to a reported robbery at The Holiday Inn on Highwood Drive. They learned that two victims had made arrangements to meet with the defendant during their meeting the defendant allegedly robbed the victims at knifepoint before fleeing.
Authorities also believe that the defendant is connected to a June 30 incident at a Motel 6 in Tewksbury where a female victim communicated with the alleged defendant through Backpage.com, and was subsequently sexually assaulted and robbed at knifepoint.
The Tewksbury Police Department and the Middlesex District Attorney’s office are now conducting a joint investigation into these matters.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The prosecutor assigned to this case is Suzanne Kontz. The Victim Witness Advocate assigned to this case is Kathleen Keefe.
The detectives involved are Tewksbury Detective Brian Farnum and Detective Ed Jackman. Anyone who may have information regarding these or similar incidents is asked to call Tewksbury detectives, at 978-851-7373.If you wish to remain anonymous please call the Tip Line @ 978-851-0175 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org