1994 Attleboro Cold Case Rape Arrest

Bristol County District Attorney’s Office

Thomas M. Quinn III

District Attorney

Press Release
November 17, 2022

A 48-year-old fugitive charged with a decades-old violent rape in Attleboro has been located and apprehended, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Eduardo Mendez, 48, was apprehended Tuesday night in New York City on an arrest warrant issued by our office for the 1994 violent rape of a woman in Attleboro.

The arrest warrant charges Mendez, who had been living in Attleboro in 1994, with aggravated rape.  He is being charged in New York City as being a fugitive from justice and it is unclear at this time whether he will fight rendition back to Massachusetts. 

The crime occurred on June 9, 1994 when the victim was accosted by three men in Attleboro as she walked near the Pleasant Street Bridge in Attleboro.  The three men forced her into the stairwell of a nearby building, covering her mouth as she attempted to scream.  In the stairwell, two of the men held her down while the third violently raped her before fleeing the scene.  The victim immediately reported the case to the police, who responded to the area but were unable to identify any of the suspects.  At that location, however, they found the victim’s purse.  The victim provided a description of her assailants, noting that the man who had raped her had gold on his teeth.  Despite her descriptions of the individuals who had assaulted her, no suspect was identified at that time.  The victim was transported to Sturdy Hospital where she was treated and a sexual assault evidence collection kit (rape kit) was recovered. 

As part of a county-wide project focusing on unsolved homicides and other violent crimes dating back to the 1970s, the District Attorney’s Office is also working with local police to re-examine evidence from unsolved rape cases from previous decades.  This includes testing evidence from rape cases that were not previously tested or by resubmitting evidence to be re-tested using the most recent DNA technology.  This effort is being overseen by the District Attorney’s Office’s Unsolved Unit in collaboration with the recently-created Unresolved Crime Unit of the Massachusetts State Police, led by Lt. Ann-Marie Robertson.  In furtherance of this project, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office sought and was awarded 2.2 million dollars of federal grant money to ensure that all untested evidence from old sexual assault cases would be tested using the most modern methods.

In recent years, evidence recovered from the victim of the 1994 rape was sent to the state crime lab for re-testing.  The recent testing related to this case revealed a DNA profile that was then uploaded to the national CODIS system.  That upload revealed a match to Eduardo Mendez, who was in the national system as a result of a conviction for a stabbing which occurred in New York later in the 1990s.  In addition to the DNA match, the investigation has revealed that Mendez’s physical description matches the one given by the victim and that he had lived just a few houses away from where the crime was committed.  Investigators also learned that he has gold in his teeth. 

The rape kit in this case was sent to a private lab as part of a grant the state crime lab received in an effort to cut into the rape kit testing backlog.

In September of 2020, our office announced that an arrest warrant had been issued in this case, thanks to DA Quinn’s Untested Rape Kit Initiative.  For the past two years, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office, the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, the state police’s Unresolved Unit, Attleboro Police and the US Marshals have been actively searching for this defendant.  On Tuesday, the defendant was apprehended in Brooklyn, NY by US Marshals, the New York City Sheriff’s Office and New York City Police.

When notified of Tuesday’s arrest, the victim in the case was ecstatic and is fully on board with the prosecution of this case. She further indicated she was very relieved to hear the news, stating that even after more than 25 years, she is “still living with it.”  She also reported that she now feels a sense of relief because after so many years had passed, she had lost hope that the case would ever be solved. 

District Attorney Quinn would like to highlight the work of Attleboro Police Detective Lieutenant Timothy Cook, Jr. and Arthur Brillon of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office’s Special Victims Unit for their work on this case.  

“This was an extremely serious and violent assault committed against an innocent victim.  This type of case shocks the conscience. I am pleased that the victim now knows her attacker has been identified and apprehended,” District Attorney Quinn said. “We will continue to utilize modern technology to try to solve these case and bring justice to the victims. Unsolved cases, in particular homicides and sexual assaults, are a top priority for my office.”