Man Arrested for Rape After Fleeing to Mexico

Michael Holden Denied Impregnating Victim, but DNA Evidence Proved Otherwise

Police have arrested a Santa Barbara man for reportedly raping and impregnating a woman in September 2011.

Michael Holden, 36, was apprehended July 15 by the Palo Alto Police Department after the SBPD’s ongoing investigation revealed Holden was seeking treatment for a hernia at the Stanford University Hospital, where he recently turned up after fleeing to Mexico months earlier. Holden has been transported back to Santa Barbara from the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

Holden — on felony probation for burglary at the time of the alleged rape — was also charged with committing an unrelated burglary in Palo Alto. The SBPD will be seeking a $1 million bail.

Michael Holden

In October of last year, said SBPD spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood, officer Andrew Merrett went to the Planned Parenthood on Garden Street after receiving a call about an alleged sexual assault. Planned Parenthood staff informed Officer Merrett that a 29-year-old woman — at the clinic with her father — told them she had been raped about a month earlier and was pregnant.

In September 2011 the woman texted Holden — who she had been friends with for a short time — and they met up at The James Joyce bar on State Street, said Harwood. Later that same night the victim and Holden went to Mel’s Lounge on Carrillo Street, where they reportedly consumed a lot of alcohol. They then walked to Holden’s house on Cottage Grove Avenue — a residence where the victim had spent the night before but never without other mutual friends present.

Police say the victim remembers later waking up on Holden’s bed with her clothes on, telling him she had a headache, and then taking a pill which Holden said was headache medicine. The woman awoke again the following afternoon — but without some of her clothes on — and left in a taxi after Holden came back from running errands.

Some days later, police say that the victim texted Holden about her being only partially clothed, but he denied they had sex. Shortly thereafter, the victim told police, she found out she was pregnant after going to the doctor with concerns she was ill. Given that she wasn’t very far along in her pregnancy, the woman told police that Holden was the only man who could be the father, a claim Holden denied.

The woman got an abortion later that month, after which authorities submitted the fetal remains to the Department of Justice for DNA testing.

In February of this year, Holden was meeting with his probation officer when he was interviewed by SBPD Detective Brian Larson, to whom Holden again denied having sex with the woman. Detective Larson got a DNA cheek swab from Holden after their interview.

Holden then fled to Mexico, where police believe he stayed until he was arrested in Palo Alto last Sunday. While Holden was in Mexico, the Department of Justice informed police that Holden’s DNA matched that found in the fetal remains.


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