A 36-year-old man is in the Henderson Detention Center after being arrested Tuesday night on accusations of having an ongoing sexual relationship with a runaway 15-year-old California girl.
Juan Ivan Barajas, of San Gabriel, Calif., was booked late Tuesday night on six counts of statutory sexual seduction.
An officer noticed a black Lexus vehicle parked on the side of the road at 1550 E. Galleria Drive about noon Tuesday.
"This was just a great opportunity of being at the right place at the right time," said Sgt. Patrick Reimann.
Reimann has worked for Henderson police for almost two decades, but this was a first.
He got a gut feeling, he said. While on his lunch break he spotted more traffic than usual at the park. But it was a dirty black car with California plates and a man who didn't make eye contact that kicked his cop instinct into gear.
Once Barajas saw the officer, he drove away. The officer ran the license plate through the National Crime Information Center, where a “hit” indicated that a possible runaway girl could be in the vehicle with Barajas.
A traffic stop was initiated; Barajas and the girl were interviewed by detectives and Barajas was arrested without incident.
The most rewarding part Reimann said was not only watching out for the community but returning this girl and making sure she was safe.
The suspect Barajas is the athletic director at San Gabriel Mission High School where the juvenile is a student. The two have had a sexual relationship since May. The girl has been listed as missing since July 29.
While the suspected sexual relationship is believed to be consensual, the girl is not of the age of consent and cannot agree to have sex with an adult, as defined in state law.
Anyone with information in this case is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.