A former hospital worker in custody for stealing a purse has been linked by DNA evidence to the sexual assault of an 8-year-old boy in Van Nuys, police said Thursday.
Darwin Felix Alfelor, 33, of North Hollywood, allegedly abducted the boy at gunpoint on June 13, 2007, near Atoll Avenue and Victory Boulevard, and sexually assaulted him, said LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck.
"This was a horrific crime that went unsolved for over 18 months," Beck said.
DNA evidence from the crime scene was linked to the suspect, who is due to be released from prison in six months, Beck said.
Alfelor, who had no prior arrest record for sexual assault, worked through a temp agency for various Southland hospitals, where he could have had contact with children, Beck said.
The detective said it would be unfair to identify the hospitals, since the suspect was working through a temporary agency and there is no immediate evidence that any unlawful conduct took place at the facilities.
Police released Alfelor's photograph in an effort to determine if there are other victims.
"It is our belief these type of assaults are not isolated and these type of predators repeat their actions over and over again," said Deputy Chief Michael Moore.
On the day of the abduction, the boy's babysitter picked up the child from Erwin Elementary School in Van Nuys. The boy ran ahead of the babysitter, and she lost sight of him near the corner of Atoll Avenue and Victory Boulevard, police said.
Police alleged Alfelor was stopped his car, grabbed the boy at gunpoint and pulled him inside the vehicle. The child was held for up to an hour and 20 minutes, during which time he was sexually assaulted, Detective Adolfo Contreras said.
Afterward, the suspect dropped off the boy in the 7600 block of Babcock Avenue, police said.
"A semi-automatic weapon was used from the time of abduction to the time the boy was released," Contreras said.
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A woman found the boy running down the street crying. Police said the victim was able to provide the woman with his parents' phone number and she called the LAPD. The boy was treated at a hospital and released.
Last Nov. 13, detectives discovered that DNA evidence from the crime scene linked Alfelor to the sexual assault, Beck said.
"Today, justice has been served," said City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who added that the case represented "every parent's worst nightmare."
Greuel commended the boy for being able to give "a great description" of the suspect, which is "tough to do at any age."
Police said they will present their evidence against Alfelor to the District Attorney's Office, which will determine whether to file charges.
Beck said Alfelor could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of such charges as kidnapping, sexual assault of a child and use of a firearm.