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Judge: Man’s disappearance can be evidence

Enrique Ruiz | Submitted photo

Enrique Ruiz | Submitted photo

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Updated: January 9, 2014 6:44AM

With or without Enrique Ruiz present, the 85-year-old Aurora man’s sex assault trial will go as planned on Monday, a Kane County judge ruled Friday.

Ruiz disappeared Nov. 22 after telling his family he was going for a walk in a nearby forest preserve. When he didn’t return, family members contacted police two days later. A search turned up no sign of Ruiz.

Police and prosecutors believe Ruiz fled to Mexico, while his attorney, Sam Partida, said earlier that he isn’t drawing any conclusions about Ruiz’s whereabouts until a missing persons’ investigation is completed by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

Judge James Hallock, who on Thursday acknowledged he knew nothing of Ruiz’s disappearance despite media coverage, denied requests by Partida to delay Monday’s scheduled start of the trial. Hallock granted a motion by prosecutors looking to reference Ruiz’s disappearance as an admission of guilt. Assistant State’s Attorney Lori Schmidt has said Ruiz willfully fled to avoid the charges. She noted, among other things, that Ruiz has a home in Mexico City and that his wife could not find his passport.

Prosecutors charged Ruiz in 2011 with fondling and sexually assaulting a young female relative over the course of several years beginning in 2004. Ruiz, who had been free on bail, is now wanted on a no-bond warrant.

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