REDWOOD CITY - The scratches a woman inflicted on her attacker during a violent struggle in a stairwell at the San Mateo Caltrain station Sunday night helped police identify and arrest the suspect later that evening, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said today.
Fernando Chamale-Boch, 21, is facing charges of felony attempted kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault, assault with intent to sexually assault, false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery for allegedly attacking a woman as she attempted to cross to the other side of the train tracks through a darkened stairway.
Prosecutors say Chamale-Boch was standing in a dark hallway around 7 p.m. and grabbed the woman just after she fearfully turned to run back up the stairs she had just entered. Chamale-Boch grabbed his victim by the waist and put his hand over her mouth to silence her before pulling the woman six feet down the stairs, Wagstaffe said.
The woman violently resisted Chamale-Boch, scratching and punching his face, before she was able to run away and call 911.
Police were able to identify Chamale-Bock by the scratches on his face and the victim later identified him, Wagstaffe said.
An attack of this nature is rare in San Mateo County, Wagstaffe said.
"This doesn't happen often in San Mateo County -- the stranger jumping out of the bushes and dragging an innocent person away -- fortunately we do not see these as much as we did when crime rates were higher back in the 1990s," he said.
Wagstaffe classified Chamale-Boch as a very, very dangerous individual, referring to him as a young, budding sex offender.
"We need to intervene right now before any other women are hurt . . . and we will," Wagstaffe said.
Chamale-Boch is facing charges in another unrelated open case through the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office. In that case, he allegedly got into a dispute Sept. 20 with a 16-year-old girl and threatened her, Wagstaffe said. He is facing misdemeanor assault and battery charges in the September case.
Chamale-Boch will return to court Nov. 5. He remains in custody in $2 million bail.