Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
Last week, police say, 36-year-old Timothy Bachicha of Albuquerque forced a woman into his van, choked her and held her captive, and raped her over a period of about 15 hours.
It’s the fourth time he’s been accused of similar crimes.
Michael Patrick, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said that since June 2017, four women – described as vulnerable or unstable members of the community – have reported similar attacks.
In each case, prosecutors lost contact with the victim shortly afterward and were unable to proceed. Investigators don’t believe the women have been killed or harmed after reporting the assaults, but he said it has been difficult for investigators to find them.
“The problem is he’s very focused on who he targets,” Patrick said. “These are some of the most vulnerable – no jobs, no cellphones, no basic way to contact them. They disappear before we can get him indicted.”
Only two of the cases resulted in charges being pressed. Patrick said he could not comment on whether investigators believe there are more victims.
A spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department did not answer any questions and said the investigation is still active.
Bachicha – who was on probation and wearing a GPS monitor in an unrelated case – was arrested Sunday night and is now in the county jail once again. He faces charges of criminal sexual penetration, kidnapping and aggravated battery.
The DA’s Office filed a motion Monday asking for Bachicha to be held behind bars until trial. A judge will rule on that motion at a coming hearing.
“Prosecutors believe Bachicha is a serious danger to our community,” Patrick said.
‘Did terrible things to her’
Although details were not immediately publicly available for the first two cases – in June 2017 and February 2018 – Patrick said all four follow a similar pattern.
In April 2018, officers talked to a woman near Central and First who “appeared to be guarded, paranoid, flat, dazed, confused, distracted and scattered.” She said a man – later identified as Bachicha – had “taken her and did terrible things to her,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
The woman told police Bachicha had driven past her on Central the night before, and then doubled back, offering her a ride in his maroon tractor-trailer with a bed in the back. She accepted.
Then, the woman said, Bachicha pulled the truck into a business on San Mateo and did “inappropriate things to her all day.” She said she was afraid he was going to kill her and she tried to leave several times throughout the night.
She was finally able to escape hours later – running naked down the street, screaming for help, according to the complaint. A passer-by gave her an oversized T-shirt and sweatshirt.
Based on the woman’s description of the truck, officers found Bachicha a short time later and arrested him on a warrant.
He told them he had taken his father’s truck for a test drive and ended up looking for prostitutes on Central. He said he had offered to pay the woman $60 for sex but decided not to go through with it when she said she didn’t have a condom.
The truck was towed, and detectives got a search warrant to look for the woman’s clothes and a handful of her hair that she said Bachicha had ripped out as she escaped.
Bachicha was charged with criminal sexual penetration, kidnapping and aggravated battery in that case, but it was dismissed “pending further investigation” two months later.
That’s because investigators could not find the woman again to testify, Patrick said.
Baby seat in his van
Then, last week, Bachicha did almost exactly the same thing, police say.
A woman told police on Oct. 30 she was walking to a bus stop near San Mateo and Indian School NE when a man in a green van pulled up next to her and offered her a ride.
She said no, but the man got out of the van, choked her and forced her inside, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
The woman told police she thought she was going to die as the man raped her and held her against her will. She said he was smoking a drug that she believed was methamphetamine.
After about 15 hours, the woman said, the man dropped her off at the Walmart on Carlisle and said he had to get home to his wife. She had noticed a baby seat in the front of the van.
A detective who had worked the February case against Bachicha noticed the similarities, and the woman was able to confirm he was the one who raped her, according to the criminal complaint.
Although the previous rape cases against Bachicha had not progressed, he had recently pleaded guilty to battery on a peace officer for kicking deputies who were accompanying his wife as she served him an eviction notice and an order of protection in February.
Bachicha’s wife did not respond to calls from the Journal.
In September, Bachicha was sentenced to two years on probation with the condition that he wear a GPS monitor on his ankle and abide by a curfew. Officers were able to use the coordinates on the GPS monitor to corroborate the second woman’s story.
Patrick said it has been tricky to indict Bachicha on rape charges, because the women he is accused of attacking don’t have much of a support system. He said investigators recently found one of the victims in the county jail and are working to file or refile previous charges.
“Cases like these are some of the most difficult to prosecute, and even more so without the assistance of the victim,” Patrick said. “This is where early victim contact is critical, so the basic needs of victims can be addressed and these cases can get indicted as quickly as possible.”