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Jury convicts missing man of sex assault

Enrique Ruiz | Submitted photo

Enrique Ruiz | Submitted photo

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Updated: January 14, 2014 12:29PM

ST. CHARLES — Jurors needed only two hours on Wednesday to convict an 85-year-old Aurora man of sexually assaulting a young female relative.

Enrique Ruiz was found guilty of multiple counts of predatory criminal sexual assault to conclude a trial that began on Monday. Over objections from his attorney, Ruiz was tried in absentia as he has not been seen since Nov. 22. Family members, who reported him missing on Nov. 24, told police Ruiz said he was going for a walk in a nearby forest preserve. A search of the area failed to locate Ruiz. Prosecutors told jurors that Ruiz fled the country to avoid standing trial. His passport has not been located and he has a home in Mexico City.

The girl, now 14, provided emotional testimony on the trial’s opening day, describing how Ruiz raped her inside his home while other young relatives played outside. Court records generally described the assaults as occurring over a several year span, while prosecutors specifically focused on three incidents.

Authorities opened an investigation after the girl told a school counselor about the assaults. She had, on separate earlier occasions, told her mother and younger brother what Ruiz had done. Prosecutors charged Ruiz in 2011. He had been free on bond throughout the case until his disappearance shortly before Thanksgiving.

Kane County Judge James Hallock, who issued a warrant for Ruiz last week, set a Feb. 24 hearing for post-trial motions, bond forfeiture and sentencing. Ruiz faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and will be required to register as a sex offender for life.

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