BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Police in Bellingham arrested a man accused of rape, and they are now asking for the public’s help in identifying more potential victims.
According to the Bellingham Police Department (BPD), officers recently took 27-year-old Julio C. Ortiz-Ortiz into custody based on probable cause for attempted second-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation. Authorities say these charges stemmed from an incident that happened on Nov. 18.
Bellingham Police Department
The BPD says it is likely that there are more victims in Bellingham and other nearby cities, including Seattle.
The BPD says the victims are believed to be vulnerable men.
"We are concerned for Bellingham’s vulnerable population. To best protect our community, we need help from the public to better identify the scope of what we are dealing with," said Chief Rebecca Mertzig. "We are providing the community with Ortiz-Ortiz’s photo to see if there are additional victims. It is an extreme injustice when a person’s existing vulnerabilities expose them to victimization and predatory behavior."
These could be men experiencing homelessness, or men who are incapacitated by alcohol or other substances.
Authorities say Ortiz-Ortiz is known to have picked up victims in a black, two-door extended-cab Toyota Tacoma with a stainless-steel storage bench in the open bed. His truck has Washington license plates C24711N, and it has been impounded by the BPD.
Ortiz-Ortiz is described as being 5’7", weighing around 260 pounds. He has long dark wavy hair, brown eyes and a dark skin complexion. He’s bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish.
Anyone with information concerning incidents of sexual assault or similar incidents involving Julio C. Ortiz-Ortiz is asked to call the non-emergency dispatch line at 360-676-6911.
This is a developing story.