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Man charged in 10 sexual assault cases involving children

Police searching for more victims

HOUSTON – A man has been arrested and charged in at least 10 sexual assault cases in northeast Houston, and Harris County officials believe there are more victims.

The locations are all very different, but police say they have one thing in common.

"I think it's because he saw an opportunity where a kid was walking home from school alone," Officer Marcos Betancourt, of the Houston Police Department, said.

A Walmart Supercenter, a shopping strip and a Denver Harbor home are just a few of the many locations at which police say the assaults happened. Investigators said the children were assaulted as they went back and forth to school in the Denver Harbor area near the East Freeway.

"The suspect would approach the girls from behind. The suspect would then touch the girls inappropriately outside of their clothing," Betancourt said.
Each victim described a similar suspect and described his vehicle as a dark blue 2007 Toyota.

Carlos Ayala, 35, was arrested in February after several reports of girls, ages 7 to 15, being sexually assaulted.

Once, police said, he tried to kidnap a 7-year-old girl while she was walking home with her 9-year-old brother.

VIDEO: Police talk about arrest of sexual assault suspect

The girl told police that Ayala drove past them several times, parked the car near them, got out, opened the back door and then approached her. According to Houston police, Ayala assaulted the girl, then tried to put her in the back seat of his car. The girl's brother yelled at Ayala, and he put her down and drove away, police said.

Police found more cases out of Harris County dating back to 2014 that matched the other cases.

The Northeast Divisional Gang Unit saw Ayala’s vehicle on Feb. 10 near the 700 block of Shotwell after a surveillance operation was established. Officers tried to pull over Ayala, but he refused to stop, prompting a short chase that ended in the 100 block of Harris, police said.

Mothers in the area say it's all very alarming.

"I wouldn't recommend this area. I wouldn't allow my daughter to walk in this area, not if she's walking from here to the store. I wouldn't bring my daughter over here," Melanie Fuentez said.

Ayala is currently charged with four counts of indecency with a child and one count of evading arrest. Police say more charges could come as the investigation continues.

After Ayala was taken into custody, investigators said he admitted to a sexual assault incident on Shotwell X and was identified by victims in at least three other incidents.

Investigators believe there might be other victims. Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact the Houston Police Department's Northeast Divisional Gang Unit at 713-635-0200.

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Editor's note: Police originally reported that the Shotwell incident happened on Feb. 17. This story has been updated to reflect the new date of Feb. 10 that is now being reported by police.