A 34-year-old school bus driver accused of sexual contact with a 4-year-old, and believed to have had inappropriate contact with another 4-year-old with special needs, is at the center of an investigation involving other children, police said Wednesday.
Police believe there may be more victims.
Denis Alcazar was arrested on May 2, suspected of holding a girl against her will inside a bus as he picked up children for school.
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He is also accused of having sexual contact with a Bell Gardens girl when she was about 4 years old back in 2011, Glendale police Sgt. Dan Suttles said.
"Just hearing that he took advantage of a special needs child strikes me to my core," Suttles said. "I'm getting choked up right now talking about it."
The investigation began Oct. 5, 2017, when a 4-year-old girl was allegedly inappropriately touched by her school bus driver, later identified as Alcazar by police.
The special needs student was the first child on his route to pick up near her home in Glendale. That gave him an opportunity to be alone with the girl for a period of time in the bus, Suttles said.
The incident was the start of an investigation into Alcazar, who worked for the First Student Bus Company at the time.
It had taken months to investigate the case due to the child's communication skills, which made interviews more challenging, as detectives needed to hire a specialist to help.
Almost immediately after the allegations had began, Alcazar was let go from his bus driving job at First Student Bus Company, police said. He was hired shortly thereafter at Brooks Transportation, which also contracts with the Los Angeles Unified School District, among other school districts in the area, police said.
The owner of Brooks Transportation, who asked to not be identified, said he was not notified. He also said he believes police made a big mistake by not notifying the company as soon as Alcazar was under investigation.
"If I hear a report that one of my drivers got a speeding ticket, a report is sent to me right away from the DMV. Why wasn't he reported to the DMV?" he said in a phone interview.
He also said Alcazar had been working since October up until he was arrested in May.
The investigation led to the revelation of the Bell Gardens victim, also a girl about 4 years old at the time of the alleged abuse.
Police said Alcazar allegedly was alone with the victim during the 2011-2012 time frame, and was in the house with Alcazar when the girl's mother went to work.
The victim is now about 10 years old, and was also being interviewed by police. Suttles said at the time of the alleged abuse, others were living in the house with Alcazar and the victim.
Detectives filed charges against Alcazar on suspicion of false imprisonment on April 25 in connection with the 4-year-old special needs victim. Because communication with the girl is posing challenges, it's been difficult to bring forth more charges, but Suttles says detectives are still working to do so.
Another count of substantial sexual conduct with a child under 14 years old was filed against Alcazar in connection with a Bell Gardens victim.
"It just makes you angry," Suttles said. "Our thought process is: this guy is willing to do this to a 4-year-old. Is it a coincidence, or were they targeted because they're both 4? If he did it that long ago, what took take place in between all those years?"
Alcazar was being held on $400,000 bail. He is due in court June 15.
Anyone who believes they may have information on Alcazar's alleged crimes or victims is asked to contact Glendale Police Detective Bureau at 818-548-3106.