Trial still on for Aurora man suspected of fleeing
By Dan Campana For Sun-Times Media December 5, 2013 3:16PM
Updated: January 7, 2014 6:35AM
ST. CHARLES — A judge on Thursday declined, for now, to delay the sex assault trial of 85-year-old Enrique Ruiz, who authorities believe fled to Mexico to avoid facing the charges.
Ruiz is scheduled for trial next week on charges he sexually assaulted a young relative over several years beginning nearly a decade ago. He was charged in 2011 and had been free on bail since his arrest.
Court records show Ruiz missed court on Nov. 20. He was reported missing on Nov. 24 by family, who told police he had gone for a walk two days earlier and never returned.
The Kane County Sheriff’s Office conducted an unsuccessful search for him in the Oakhurst Forest Preserve. Although Ruiz’s attorney, Sam Partida, told Judge James Hallock the matter remains an “open missing person” case, Assistant State’s Attorney Lori Schmidt countered that authorities have information dispelling the idea Ruiz is missing. Ruiz has a home in Mexico City, his wife could not find his passport after he disappeared and, earlier this week, police learned Ruiz is likely in Texas waiting to cross into Mexico.
“We believe the defendant’s absentia is willful,” Schmidt said.
Partida said he isn’t conceding anything about Ruiz’s whereabouts, adding he’d prefer to know the final outcome of the investigation before going to trial. Partida added there is also some question whether he or his firm would continue to represent Ruiz in the case.
Hallock denied Partida’s request to delay the trial, but did schedule a Friday hearing on two pre-trial motions relating to using Ruiz’s flight as an admission of guilt, as well as establishing procedures for the girl’s testimony.
Hallock issued a no-bond warrant for Ruiz and prosecutors want to have his current bond money forfeited.