DNA ties man to 2005 sex assault cold case

DNA and a prior arrest have tied a 39-year-old man to a sexual assault case involving a pregnant woman more than 15 years ago, according to a Las Vegas police arrest report.

Ricardo Thornton was arrested on Oct. 8 and charged with sexual assault after police said he forced a woman who was eight months’ pregnant to commit a sex act on him in July 2005, the Metropolitan Police Department arrest report released Tuesday.

The woman told police she was waiting at a bus stop trying to get to the grocery store because her young son needed formula, but someone told her the bus no longer stopped there and a man pulled up to offer her a ride to the store.

Instead, he drove her to a parking garage where he assaulted her, she told Las Vegas police.

“(The victim) said the male told her about a gun and would smash her face into the stereo inside his vehicle,” according to the police report. “He grabbed (the victim) by the head and hair and held her tightly, telling (the victim) to unbutton his pants.”

The woman reported the assault to police at the time and conducted a sexual assault exam, but the case was closed shortly afterward with no suspect.

The case was reopened in 2017 after Thornton’s DNA matched DNA found during the woman’s exam, according to police. His DNA was entered into the local system after he was charged with two counts of sex assault in 2012 in Henderson, police said.

Thornton was sentenced to a minimum of two years in the Nevada Department of Corrections in 2013 on one count of coercion determined to be nonsexual, according to District Court documents.

He was charged in the sexual assault case and an arrest warrant was issued in February. Since his Oct. 8 arrest, Thornton has been held on $200,000 bail pending a hearing Wednesday.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.