Five-hour manhunt ends with arrest

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Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013 12:00 am

Bellevue police arrested a man Friday for the alleged sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl in central Iowa.

Officers responded at 9:38 a.m. to 1202 Bryan Ave. With assistance from the Omaha Police Department helicopter, they searched for Diego Campos-Cortez, 27, of West Des Moines, Iowa, who was accused of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s daughter.

A scuffle began at the residence shortly after the victim’s mother learned of the assault, police said they were told. Campos-Cortez left the home armed with a kitchen knife and threatened to harm himself.

He was gone when officers arrived, Police Chief Mark Elbert said. Campos-Cortez and the girl were in Bellevue for the Independence Day weekend and live together in West Des Moines.

Law enforcement set up a perimeter from Kennedy Freeway to 25th Street and from Highway 370 to Gilmore Road. After five hours of searching, police found Campos-Cortez inside a drainage culvert in a creek bed.

He was treated for injuries at Bellevue Medical Center. He cut himself on the wrist, Capt. Chuck Clark said. He was no longer listed there as a patient Monday, said David Larrick, a hospital spokesman.

Police said Campos-Cortez was moved to a secure hospital room in Douglas County. He was not listed at Sarpy County Jail as of Monday afternoon.

He will be arrested for sexual assault of a child after he is released from the hospital, Elbert said.

Elbert said authorities believe Campos-Cortez repeatedly assaulted the victim in West Des Moines. The Bellevue Police Department forwarded case information to Iowa law enforcement.

The capture was made possible by the assistance from the Omaha Police Department helicopter, area K9 units, Bellevue detectives and road patrol officers, Elbert said.

“This incident ended with capture of an alleged sexual predator believed to have been preying on the most innocent of our society,” he said.

World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.

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