Teen says religious 'blessing' turned into rape
TOMBALL, TX (KTRK) -- Authorities are calling it a first for them -- a bizarre sexual assault case in which the suspect is accused of luring a teenage victim by claiming he knew black magic.
Tomball police are currently looking for the man who they say has been missing since Monday afternoon. They consider him to be dangerous.
Investigators say the suspect claimed he could heal her, but she says instead, he viciously attacked her. It happened Sunday at a home on South Cherry Street in Tomball.
On a mattress in a dark, filthy room, police say Mario Munoz-Verudes, 60, assaulted his 17-year-old neighbor after promising to rid her of bad spirits.
"Proclaimed himself to be a religious man, attended church regularly, supposedly, and was able to do some witchcraft or some spells," said Detective Ron McGullion with the Tomball Police Department.
Munoz-Verudes was renting that room from a man who tells us he'd only known the self-proclaimed healer for three weeks. The roommate says he doesn't want any trouble from what police believed happened. He is not a suspect and he's been giving investigators as much information about Munoz-Verudes as he can. He now thinks his roommate was involved in black magic.
"I think the man may be a witch," he told Eyewitness News.
"We have not had a case like this on a long, long time," Det. McGullion said.
Police say he did threaten the 17-year-old's family if she told anyone. It wasn't until he came to her home offering to tell the future of her 13-year-old sister that she told her family. They told police and took her to a nearby hospital where investigators say tests confirmed an assault.
Police also tell us they are not the only ones searching for Munoz-Verudes. Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement are also looking for this man because they say in January he did not appear for an immigration hearing. They believe Munoz-Verudes is from either Mexico or somewhere in Central America. They would like to find him as quickly as possible.
tomball, local, tom abrahams
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