OGDEN -- Fourteen years later, DNA testing has brought a former Ogden man back to town to face charges related to the sexual assault on a woman.
Sergio Hernandez, 42, is charged in the Jan. 23, 1997, attack that occurred in the early-morning hours behind Mount Ogden Middle School.
DNA recovered from the crime scene and preserved matched that recorded in a DNA database for Hernandez, held in the Arkansas state prison for a similar attack on a woman in that state in 2009, according to 2nd District Court charging documents.
The Utah State Crime Lab made the match in July and notified Ogden police, who conducted an additional investigation before Hernandez was charged in September.
On Monday, after a preliminary hearing determined enough evidence existed to advance the case, Judge Michael Lyon scheduled a March 19-21 jury trial for Hernandez.
The victim told police she was walking to work around 5:30 a.m. and passing the school when she was grabbed from behind and dragged to the back of the school. Her hands were bound and she was raped and sodomized, according to the allegations.
The attacker told the woman he had a gun and threatened to kill her if she resisted. He then fled the area, and the woman continued the short walk to work, her hands still bound. Co-workers contacted police.
Hernandez lived about a block from the victim's residence at the time of the attack, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Complications regarding the statute of limitations for rape precluded the filing of a sexual offense charge, officials said, and so Hernandez is charged with aggravated kidnapping.
The case is similar to another Ogden cold case solved recently by DNA.
Deon Lucero, 39, was charged with aggravated sexual abuse, aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping in an Aug. 29, 1996, attack in Newgate Mall.
DNA evidence from the crime scene matched with Lucero's name in a database for inmates at the Mississippi State Prison. That led to Ogden Police Detective Rick Childress interviewing Lucero at the Mississippi prison, producing further evidence against the inmate.
Childress also developed the Hernandez case.
On Monday, coincidentally, Lyon sentenced Lucero to five years to life on the kidnapping charge and 15 years to life on the sexual offense, respectively, ordering them to be served consecutively.
Lyon also ordered the sentence to run consecutive to Lucero's prison term in Mississippi for sexual battery charges, which means Lucero will finish his time there first, estimated to be completed by 2016, then be sent to Utah to serve his sentences here.