An Oak Harbor man accused of raping three people is wanted on a $50,000 arrest warrant after he failed to turn himself in at the county jail as ordered, according to court records.
A deputy prosecutor filed a motion last month to amend charges to add a series of sexual assault allegations against Jose Altamirano Valdez into one case. The judge hasn’t ruled on the request, however, because Altamirano Valdez has since disappeared.
Prosecutors originally charged 23-year-old Altamirano Valdez in Island County Superior Court in February with rape in the second degree, three counts of rape of a child in the third degree, child molestation in the third degree and violation of a court order. The crimes were all charged as being domestic-violence-related.
Altamirano Valdez is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a friend’s daughter, beginning when the child was 14 years old, according to a detective’s report.
At the preliminary hearing, Deputy Prosecutor Tamara Fundrella asked Judge Christon Skinner to set Altamirano Valdez’s bail at $75,000 based on his potential danger to the community. Defense attorney Matt Montoya asked that his client be released on his own recognizance because of his ties to the community and lack of criminal history.
Skinner set bail at $5,000 and Altamirano Valdez posted the amount a couple days later.
In March, a detective with the Oak Harbor Police Department was contacted by two other women who said they had been sexually abused by Altamirano Valdez.
One of the women called police after reading about Altamirano Valdez’s preliminary hearing in the Whidbey News-Times. She described an incident two years ago in which Altamirano Valdez was at her home for a gathering with a few friends and sexually assaulted her after the others left, the report states.
Another woman described a similar story in which she ended up alone with Altamirano Valdez, who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and sexually assaulted her, the report states.
In response, Fundrella filed motions to amend the charges against Altamirano Valdez to include the alleged crimes against the two other victims and to increase bail. At a hearing on July 29, Skinner heard arguments from both sides.
The judge has yet to announce his decision on the motion to amend, but he increased Altamirano Valdez’s bail to $25,000.
Skinner ordered Altamirano Valdez, who appeared at the hearing telephonically, to turn himself in at the jail by 5 p.m. that day.
When he did not appear, Skinner authorized a $50,000 warrant for his arrest.